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Burton Vs. Gravity

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
It's time for another epic tale of Burton's fight against an imaginary foe. Last time it was the check engine light. This time? His fight was with Gravity.

You see, Burton is the sort of fellow who won't turn on the lights if he thinks he'll be able to see well enough to get from point A to point B. This trait - while normally saving electricity - because the cause of the fight, and the stairs were the backdrop against which this struggle took place.

Imagine it's 5 AM. Burton wakes up to find that he's thirsty, but the water glass next to his bed is empty. He gets up to go down to the kitchen with the intent of refilling it with fresh, cold, filtered water. In the hallway he decides not to turn on the light, but thinks to himself, "the stairs are pretty steep. I'd better watch my step!" He takes one step down the stairs and his foot slips out from underneath him. The battle begins!

a bruise running the length of my arm from carpet burn

And then the battle is over mere seconds after it began. Burton, blindsided by gravity and unable to put up a good fight, finds himself at the bottom of the stairs, glass still in hand (unbroken) and hoping like hell he didn't wake his roommate. He also finds friction burns on his arm and back, lightly bleeding.

In mild pain but quite irritated, Burton cleans his wounds and applies a thin glazing of Neosporin. He then gets more water and climbs back in bed.

The winner? Gravity... this time, at least.

Volunteering (to be paid, of course)

Monday, March 30, 2009
In the news today is the now-infamous call by the White House for Rick Wagoner, CEO of GM, to resign. This doesn't bother me too much. I know he's been there for 32 years and worked hard, but I'd also like to point out that his perspective comes from 32 years of experience in which GM's market share went from over 40% to under 20% (as of a year ago.) I'm just pointing out that, as a GM insider, his perspective has never been influence by overwhelming success. So he's out, and I wish him good luck.

Now I've mentioned this before, but I'm serious this time. Give me the job. I have business experience, an overabundance of common sense, and a deep love for the auto industry.

Here are several reasons this is a good idea:
- I'll come inexpensively. While Mr. Wagoner may have been pledged to be paid only $1/year, his total compensation was much higher. I'll do the job for the average salary of any of people actually making the cars.
- I'm willing to take risks and have "vision". For instance, I might allow GM to make more than sports cars, sedans, trucks, and SUVs. How about a hatchback? How about a sport-wagon? How about a decent freakin' small car?
- I'm willing to be marketing focuses rather than finance focused. I maintain that the reason GM's so far behind is that they keep trying to only make cars they'll make a lot of money off of, rather than making the occasional car that will sell well, hold its value, and make people want to buy another GM product.
- I've got a long, mixed history with GM cars. I can talk for hours about what they should do, and I'd do almost anything to have the chance to implement it.

The list goes on, but (in the interests of time) I'll cut it off here. If anyone's in a position to help me get that job, I'm easy to reach, and I'll be awesome!

Filtering Out Noise

Sunday, March 22, 2009
So I've been browsing craigslist lately looking at cars, because I'd eventually like to replace the Dentmobile with something less... dented. Okay. However, I'm still of fairly limited means, so I'm not looking to spend that much. Still not a problem, but then I'm getting REALLY picky: I don't want a sedan (useless for carrying anything other than people, which I rarely do), I want a manual transmission (I like driving stick), I want a moonroof (now I'm just getting picky, etc. But I've been seeing a lot of ads and finally I have to say something.

Category 1: "Like New"
This is a phrase that just kills me every time. Sir, you can't have a 1986 Toyota MR2 for sale with "only" 145,000 miles on it and say that it "runs and drives like new". I can almost guarantee that it doesn't. You see, "runs and drives like new" implies, to me, that the car would be virtually indistinguishable from that same car if you were driving it when new. Yet I can't think of a single automobile with almost 150k miles on it that's been sitting there for 23 years for which that claim could honestly be made.

Category 2: "Low Miles"
Oh, here's one: A 1993 Honda Civic with "Low Miles" - and in the post, he describes the vehicle as having 12,000 miles per year (right around the average). A bit of basic math tells us that a 16-year old car driven 12,000 miles per year has roughly 192,000 miles on it, which is not even anything remotely close to "low miles". I really think "low miles" should be reserved for anything with fewer than 7,000 miles per year on it, with a maximum cap of 80,000 miles. That's just me, though.

Category 3: No Info
Without having one to show specifically, I'm giong to say that these are all over the place. They're the ones that don't tell you anything about the vehicle that's being listed. I understand that abbreviations can be helpful, but you're not exactly paying by the letter. Go ahead and tell me how many miles are on the car, what kind of transmission it has, and all that fun info. Not listing it is a good sign that you're hiding it.

Category 4: ALL CAPS
FIND THE CAPS LOCK KEY AND TURN IT OFF. THANK YOU.

So that's the noise I have to filter out when looking at vehicles, and trust me: there's a lot of noise.

The Dogs

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I'm going to share something that is, well, widely known about me. I've never been an "animal person". When I was growing up we didn't have a lot of pets (besides a few gerbils, a salamander, and a tree frog.) Having things other than people run around the house is a new experience for me.

So now that I'm living with a friend who has dogs (note the plural), I'm facing the challenge of living with pets. If you've never lived with them, you don't know that:
  • cleaning up after them isn't necessarily fun

  • conversations are meaningless

  • they won't listen to you if they don't know you

  • some noises are "normal"

  • some noises are "not"

  • dogs can snore, too

These are all things I'm learning.


Now, despite all appearances, I'm not complaining. Some people like dogs, and this is a chance for me to find out more about those people. It's alien to me, though, and I'm just having to grow. We'll see who goes mad first!

Expansion vs. Maintenace

Saturday, March 07, 2009
Despite the fact that I never update my MBA blog (though that was a "project" blog) and I can't seem to find the time to update No Jack Kennedy with political ramblings, I've decided to start YET ANOTHER BLOG™.

I'm calling this one "Dining In PDX" (yes, a highly original name) and, since I like to dine out, it will be my attempt to chronicle my travels as I eat my way around the Portland area. My hope is that I'll be able to use it as a tool to find a good place to eat and maybe someone else will, too. It'll be awesome. Check it out.

It's already added to my lifestream, too!

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