dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 12:29am on 2007-07-03 under ,

So there's this meme floating around with the instructions:

  1. Go into the archives of your blog.
  2. Find your 42nd entry ever. Yes, this may require some counting and basic math. Deal with it.
  3. Link to that entry in a new entry. This is the meaning of your life.

(To anyone reading this on GJ, IJ, or Blurty, I'm going to use the 42nd entry from my LJ, since I don't think I'm up to 42 entries elsewhere yet (though this parenthetical comment will look odd ifwhen I get around to backfilling the other sites with backdated entries).)

I don't think I like my answer, posted via SMS from a cell phone in June 2002:

Fixed the car, sort of. Suspect I turned a catastrophic failure into an intermittent -- I'll find out the next time it fails.

I guess deliberately aiming a more optimistic entry at the 42nd spot in GJ or IJ just so I can re-do the meme using that would be cheating, huh? (Well, at least it wasn't the entry right before that one, about the car suddenly dying in the middle of the street.)

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 12:28am on 2007-07-03 under ,

So there's this meme floating around with the instructions:

  1. Go into the archives of your blog.
  2. Find your 42nd entry ever. Yes, this may require some counting and basic math. Deal with it.
  3. Link to that entry in a new entry. This is the meaning of your life.

(To anyone reading this on GJ, IJ, or Blurty, I'm going to use the 42nd entry from my LJ, since I don't think I'm up to 42 entries elsewhere yet (though this parenthetical comment will look odd ifwhen I get around to backfilling the other sites with backdated entries).)

I don't think I like my answer, posted via SMS from a cell phone in June 2002:

Fixed the car, sort of. Suspect I turned a catastrophic failure into an intermittent -- I'll find out the next time it fails.

I guess deliberately aiming a more optimistic entry at the 42nd spot in GJ or IJ just so I can re-do the meme using that would be cheating, huh? (Well, at least it wasn't the entry right before that one, about the car suddenly dying in the middle of the street.)

dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 04:12pm on 2007-04-25 under ,

Long, long day yesterday. Tired today. I'll be asking for advice re: cars and inspection and risks in a little while, as well as trolling for a favour from a friend with a trailer, but I'm still collecting my thoughts ...

In the meantime, not having found any more of a hint as to the location of the alleged trasure-trove of relevant clues than "there exists, at some undisclosed location, some bass-players' mailing list where this has been discussed before", I'm making a first, crude stab at collecting the knowledge of the Net with a magnet instead of a shovel. While this ought to be (and as soon as I get a round tuit will be) either a Wiki or a custom LAMP application, for now I've started a Google spreadsheet to which I'll grant edit-access to whomever says they've anything to add. Behold the rough version of the Which Cars Can Carry A Double Bass spreadsheet.

Please pass this along to other bassists you know, and ask 'em for additional Clues.

dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 03:00pm on 2007-04-24 under , ,

Today's pleasant surprise: the double bass fits into a 1989 Mazda 626 sedan more easily than into a 1990 Honda Accord sedan. The trunk of the 626 looks a whole lot smaller than the Accord's, so fewer guitars will probably fit there, but the opening uncovered by folding down the rear seat is wider so the bottom of the bass can go entirely into the trunk -- which means that the neck of the bass sits between the front seats as it does in a hatchback, instead of over the front passenger seat as it did in the Accord, so if I get a 626 I'll be able to carry the bass and a passenger at the same time. Maneuvering the instrument into the car is still awkward (I couldn't get it to fit in through the trunk so it still had to go in through a rear door) but marginally easier to accomplish than with the Accord.

Today's somewhat less pleasant surprise: some idiot had slashed a bunch of tires in the apartment complex where the 626's owner lives, including one of the tires on the 626, so I couldn't test drive it. But it's supposed to have a new tire on it later this afternoon, so the plan is to head back out to White Marsh then and see how the car feels, then (probably) sort out how to deal with getting it inspected. It's going to need a muffler, and probably a front turn signal lens, but the windshield is fine and I didn't notice any significant rust. I don't know whether Maryland inspections care about the hole in the trunk lid where half the 'M' in "Mazda" is broken off (a hole that's supposed to be filled by one of the mounting pins of the logo). I presume a right front turn signal lens is the kind of thing I ought to be able to find cheaply at Crazy Ray's, right? (I've never been there, just heard lots about it from various friends.)

The big questions at this point, of course, are "do I feel safe driving it?" and "how much are tho repairs needed to pass inspection going to cost?" The price is low enough to leave a little room for repairs, but not a whole lot. If a muffler isn't too expensive and there are no surprises on the inspection, this car may be it. Wish me kuck,


In the meantime, this humidity is killing me. You know how folks love to say, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity," and they're often full of crap (that is, sometimes the heat's enough, and more often it's the combination of the two)? Well today I dare say it really is the humidity, not the heat. The Meteorological Oppressiveness Factor was up into the miserable range well before the thermometer broke 80°F (the probe hanging outside my bedroom window is currently reporting 84°F -- I had a reading of over 50% relative humidity this morning when the temperature indoors and out was in the 70s (F), and at the moment the indoor numbers for the bedroom are 78°F and 44%).

Having some sort of adjustment period between the chilly weather and the muggy weather (like, perhaps, the season known in past years as "Spring") might have been nice. I'm feeling drained and wilted and a bit sticky. Bleah. (I wonder how my typo rate changes when I feel like this. I'll proofread this when it's cooler and count 'em up.)


Have I mentioned lately how much I hate car shopping?

dglenn: Me in poufy shirt, kilt, and Darth Vader mask, playing a bouzouki (vader)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 03:54pm on 2007-04-12 under , ,

I did not get a call telling me to come to the courthouse at 14:00. I did get a call just before 15:30 from the prosecutor telling me that the guy who totaled my car had been found guilty and sentenced to sixty days in jail, the maximum sentence for what he was charged with.

She also said that the photos I took, which I gave her a copy of on CD last month and which she printed out and introduced as evidence this afternoon, were a major factor in convincing the judge to impose the maximum penalty. Apparently they were the difference between "okay, some cars got damaged," and "wow, those cars are crushed".

So even though my presence was not required today, I feel like I did my part.

dglenn: Kickdrum (bass drum) with sneakers on the side legs (kickdrum)

Argh. Okay, first the good: after a frustrating no-sleep night due to leg cramps,I finally did manage to fall asleep late in the afternoon. But the bad: I slept through my alarm and didn't wake up until [livejournal.com profile] fidhle phoned halfway through rehearsal to ask whether I was coming.     :-(     Last rehearsal before a gig, too. (This after such careful planning to ensure that I would have a ride to rehearsal. I say again: argh.)

Trial tomorrow, of the guy who wrecked my car. I'm not sure how (or whether) I'm getting there. I'm an "on call" witness; if they call all of us in at the same time, I'll try to catch a ride with one of my neighbours. I don't know whether any of my neighbours are going if not called. (We have to be near a phone and not more than an hour travel from the courthouse.) I guess worst case, I'll take a cab. I wonder whether I'd get reimbursed for that, since the trial is about the reason I don't have my own car to drive there.

Crowded weekend coming up, about which I'll post more when I'm just a tad more alert. I will have to miss at least two different things I wanted to go to on Saturday because three events happen at the same (well, overlapping) time in three different cities; I'm probably going to choose between those three based on which will put me in a better position to catch a ride to the fourth ... and then I need to sort out Sunday.

I'm so tempted to just take the first car I test-drove and gamble on the cost of getting it through inspection, just to get the hated car-shopping process over with, and to make transportation decisions relatively straightforward again. Not smart perhaps, but tempting.

At least the weekend should be fun (if awfully tiring) once I do sort out the transportation details. I think. I'm not certain yet whether I'll have a way to get the double bass to the places where I'd said I would play it. And at least I learned a few basic ImageMagick tricks this morning while not-sleeping (though I couldn't figure out how to get the animated GIF that I wanted to use as an LJ icon down to an allowable size without losing a lot of what made me want to use it in the first place ... maybe there's a way I haven't figured out yet.)

dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 04:43pm on 2007-04-06 under

For anyone interested, here's a snapshot of the shopping process so far: the leftmost few columns of the Google spreadsheet where I'm keeping track of what I've found and whom I've talked to (and at some point soon I hope, which cars I've looked at and test driven). These are the cars I haven't completely ruled out yet, subject to massive winnowing as I take a closer look at each, take a closer look at my bank account, incorporate advice from y'all, get questions answered, etc.

the table )

 

If you think you want to see the whole spreadsheet and add annotations (I've got a column for "advice from friends"), drop me a line and I'll add your email address to the collaborators list. (If you want to be helpful but don't want to get quite that involved, don't worry: I'll continue asking questions right here every so often. Or just venting.)

Remarkably, I actually found a few Volvos! One's already sold, one is $500 to high, one is on eBay, and the other two I'm waiting to hear back from the sellers (in one case I left a message asking "is this the sedan or the wagon?" In the meantime, do we know whether the double bass will go into a Volvo 740 sedan?).

I still want the "what cars can carry a bass" wiki. So far, on rec.music.makers.bowed-strings I've discovered that the topic has been extensively discussed on a mailing list, but I don't know yet whether that list has publically searchable archives. It's a start.

dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 09:59am on 2007-04-06 under ,

Note to self: stop saying, "But it's a Jaguar, in my price range." Even if it weren't for Jags' reputation for needing frequent maintenance and the "needs work" in the ad, there's just no way the double bass is going into a two-door Jaguar unless that sunroof is way bigger than any sunroof I've ever seen.

But I could strap the bass to the roof with bungee cords!

(I guess a motorcycle is out of the question too.)

dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:45pm on 2007-04-05 under ,

Next car-shopping question: can I fit the bass into a 4-door Mazda 626? Wheee. Have I mentioned lately just how much I hate car shopping?

I thought I'd hit the jackpot when I saw a Volvo wagon for sale in my price range, but it turned out to be a "project or for parts" type of ad. I've thought I wanted a Volvo wagon (probably a 740) since the mid-1980s. But apparently my looking for a Volvo station wagon I can afford is about as useful as my wishing for a Lamborghini. As slowly as Volvos seem to age, it seems they depreciate even more slowly.

dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 07:29am on 2007-04-04 under ,

Do Saturns tend to age well? Is a 1994 single-owner Saturn wagon a "run away from" or a "hey, better take a look at that"?

dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 07:08pm on 2007-04-02 under ,

I've returned the rental car. The guy at Enterprise asked me whether there had been any problems. When I replied, "Other than the auto designers in Detroit having lost their minds and forgotten everything they learned in the '60s, '70s, and 80's?" he mentioned his own complaints about current designs, correctly predicting portions of my own rant.

Tonight, 3LF. Tomorrow, more car stuff.

dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:51am on 2007-04-01 under ,

April Fool's Day came a little over an hour early for me.

Last night, reuturning home from visiting my mother, I stopped at an ATM downtown. When I got back into the rental car, it would not start. Plenty of fuel, plenty of battery power, nothing amiss on the guages, but it would not start. I got the ghwhrzhwhr of the starter motor punctuated by very ominous sounding !BANG!s. I popped the hood to see whether there were any clues sufficiently obvious that even I could see them, and discovered that Dodge had opted for the "black box" metaphor -- a series of plastic covers tiling the engine compartment from firewall to grille and fender-to-fender. I tried different ways of working the gas pedal. I gave up.

I called Enterprise four times -- I'm not sure what happened the first time, the second appeared to be a cell phone glitch at my end or possibly in the network, the third seemed to be a glitch in their call center equipment, and the fourth time I actually hd a conversation. Once the communications technology started behaving, things seemed to go more smoothly, and we proceeded quickly to the "I'm going to put you on hold while I contact our roadside assistance provider for that area" stage.

I was on hold for six or seven minutes, long enough to get bored and try turning the key again...

You guessed it. After fifteen minutes of fussing with it and another five minutes on the phone, the car waited until a tow was in the process of being summoned to decide to start after all, roughly halfway through the time I was on hold. The Enterprise person came back on the line to tell me she had AAA on another line, and I got to say the car finally started on its own after twenty minutes of glitchitude.

*mutter* *grumble*

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 03:51pm on 2007-03-30 under ,
Garage says >$1500 to make it safe, before even thinking about body work. Oh well, at least it makes it an easy decision.
dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 01:06pm on 2007-03-30 under ,

I'm reading comments to my earlier post (and thanks!) but I'm gonna wait until a little later to start composing replies. For now just a couple of observations and a question...

Looking at pictures of hatchbacks -- 3-door -- I realize that I don't really much care for them aesthetically. Given my druthers, I'd normally pick a sedan or a 5-door; with the bass I'd lean more toward the 5-door, be it a longer hatchback or a proper wagon. Although I don't have passengers in the back seat very often, I've gotten used to always having the ability to carry adult rear-seat passengers easily and have them able to enter and exit the car comfortably. Having fewer than four doors will/would be a mental adjustment. More realistically, being able to maneuver guitar cases and assorted other stuff through the rear doors of a sedan is a feature I use regularly. Getting used to always puting such things in through the hatch might make up for that, I dunno.

I might find a 5-door or a large enough sedan to get the bass into more easily than it went into the Honda, but given my price range and the fact that reliability trumps body-style, I'm not counting on that. So I'm trying to prepare mentally for accepting a 3-door instead of being Too Picky and having no wheels for six months.

Anywho ... Google found me a 1986 Merkur XR4Ti that sounds interesting, except that I am utterly unfamiliar with that model. Who can tell me what? Vague subjective impressions considered useful, as are objective observations.

Hey, maybe I'll wind up with a manual transmission again.

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)

The expected phone call came this morning. The Honda is totaled. $1410.50 if I walk away from it, $1212.50 if I want to hang on to it and try to get it repaired myself. So now the questions are: how much will it cost to fix the important stuff (i.e., make it safe to drive at highway speeds and not be in the process of damaging itself farther, and fix the lights); and, how much car does $1400 buy me around Baltimore nowadays, how reliable and how double-bass-friendly (with "how much will Glenn like it" being, alas, a more distant concern)?

And they want my answer by Monday (which is also when the rental has to go back) or Tuesday. Er ... can I get an estimate that fast?

On the first question, y'all can't help much, of course (except by suggesting trustworthy garages that I can walk or take a bus home from, that might be able to look at the car today/Monday -- I'm going to phone Comprehensive Car Care and/or Three Brothers after I take my morning meds and feed Perrine).

But on the second question, have any of you got relevant, recent used-car-buying experiences to draw on (or have a hobby of trolling used car ads for fun, for that matter)?

dglenn: Cartoon of me playing electric guitar (debtoon)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 06:54pm on 2007-03-28 under ,

I don't understand today's cars. Oh, I understand as much of how they work as I ever did, and I can drive some of them[1], but the marketing, nomenclature, and design decisions confuse me.

I got into a rental car. An economy car, I think, since my insurance company is paying for it. And as one might expect from a small car, the passenger compartment is a bit cramped. But ... the outside of this car looks like it's the same size as my Accord, which is apparently one or two size categories up. And sitting in the driver's seat, it feels like I am Surrounded By Bulk -- it's just that none of the bulk is Space I Can Use; it's all just ... in my way. And that includes being in my way of seeing out of the car, though part of that is just that the rear view mirror is too small, and another part is that I'm apparently too tall for the car (the mirror is awfully low in my field of view, and for that matter the top of the windwhield isn't very high up either -- I don't bump my head on the ceiling, but there's precious little clearance there).

I'm also confused by hearing that the Accord is now a full-size. Have Accords gotten that much larger since 1990, or has the definition of "full size" gotten that much smaller than what I'm used to? (I know it has gotten smaller; I'm just not sure how much. I used to drive a 1978 Pontiac Catalina -- pretty much the same car as the Bonneville and the Cutlas Supreme of the same period -- and by 1978 standards that was considered mid-size. Today, it would be a land-yacht, and the 1972 Mercury Marquis Brougham would look like two cars.) I'm not certain which size-class my 1990 was categorized as.

Tomorrow, I go back to Enterprise and trade this car for the hatchback that wasn't ready for me tonight. I'm hoping that whatever model that turns out to be doesn't wind up being much smaller on the inside than a Mazda 323 -- I know the double bass fits into one of those easily.

[1] The ones that I'm not too tall for.

dglenn: Cartoon of me playing electric guitar (debtoon)

... and how slowly I was thinking compared to how quickly the day seems to be disappearing out from under me.

  •  +: ∃ progress re: car.
  •  +: ∃ possibility of short term transportation solution.
  •  -: too little sleep, woken by loud noises too early, feeling too out-of-it/scattered/fuzz-brained to deal with nessecary phone calls; punting coping until tomorrow.
  •  +: got answers to questions I had re: form I was stuck on filling out; will be able to mail that tomorrow.
  •  -: car is (unsurprisingly) almost certainly totalled, more by age & mileage (also unsurprisingly) than by amount of damage. Awaiting official word; need to get repair est.
  •  +: corn muffins from mix in a box are yummy with red pepper flakes added to the batter.
  •  +: even this sleep-dep-addled, PHP docs re: MySQL hooks make db access look even easier than what I'd done earlier.
  •  +: ∃ earplugs.
  •  -: I need to use aforementioned earplugs.
  •  -: No Heroes tonight.
  •  +: No temptation to watch telly instead of sleeping.[1]
  •  +: ∃ "∃" char in HTML (∃) for me to [ab]use.
  •  =: I'm babbling on LJ & probably not making much sense. Naptime.

[1] I haven't seen any episodes of 24 this season; it's piling up on videocassettes to watch later. So no temptation to jump into middle of story tonight.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)

The good: I just realized that with all the stuff I did yesterday and the additional handicap of doing it starting too early and on too litle sleep, I managed it without needing to take codeine, and with only my ordinary daily dose of Ultram & ibuprofen.

The bad: today I feel utterly craptastic despite having caught up on sleep. My planned short grocery run today is hereby postponed. As is just about everything else under consideration for today. I'll maybe watch some of the television I slept through last night (if I decide that I can bear being exposed to the traffic noise from outside without earplugs), poke haphazardly at a PHP thingie I'm toying with, try to remember what email seemed so urgent to deal with today when I was thinking about it last night, and rest.

Maybe I'll be in shape to do the fun things I wanted to do tomorrow by tomorrow if I let my body catch up this evening.

Still, being able to get through as much of yesterday as I did before I fell over is something.


The power steering fluid is still leaking, but I think I managed to slow it down a little. I'll know better after another day or so of watching it. At least the 'stuttering" of the power assist when making turns at low speed has gone away (though the "mushiness" at high speeds is not related).

I'm getting tired of having half a car. I can drive to the grocery store, so it's not as bad as the time I've had to lug groceries home in a backppack, but I'm still stuck when it comes to anything far enough away to make me nervous about breaking down, or for which there's no reasonable alternative to highways where the minimum safe speed is higher than the "feels unstable" speed of my car right now. Which means any of the rehearsals lately, at least one upcoming gig, visiting [livejournal.com profile] anniemal, and most social stuff. And my selection of stores to shop at is limited by this as well.

Thing is, even when the insurance stuff finally does get sorted out, I don't know whether I'll be any better off. With a $250 deductible on uninsured-motorist claims, I'm not sure how I'll be able to afford to repair/replace my car even after I get the insurance money.

In the meantime, I patiently move the car from one side of the street to the other and back twice a week...


I had some strange dreams last night and this morning. In one, I was helping an older me balance our checkbook by carefully frying receipts in vegetable oil, while a younger me asked questions.

dglenn: Cartoon of me playing electric guitar (debtoon)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 10:47am on 2007-03-22 under , ,
  • Got a ride to court with a neighbour.
  • Gave a CD of digital photos to Assistant State's Attorney.
  • Talked to other vehicle owners, made sure State's Attorney has all contact info.
  • Went into the courtroom, where we all stood in a row behind the State's Attorneys when the case was called.
  • Defendant asked for more time to get a lawyer; spun a story about why he didn't have one yet, that the judge didn't appear to really believe but had to say was plausible enough to grant the extra time.
  • Had the judge read off potential dates until we found one that all of us witnesses could deal with. Was told we'd be "on call" (won't have to show up that day unless called, but have to be near a phone and not more than an hour's travel from the courthouse).
  • Got copies of a more detailed police report than the form a neighbour had gotten when he went to the police station to ask for one.
  • Came home, feeling kinda wretched from having gotten moving after so little sleep.

Now to see what else of my to-do list I can manage to handle despite feeling creaky and tired and having a wobbly stomach, since I'm already up and dressed and once I stop moving I'll probably not get back up again.

My head hurts. Fortunately the next court date will be an afternoon session. (Well, fortunate for me and at least one or two other witnesses; less fortunate for the police officer, who has the same problem with afternoons as I do with mornings -- worst possible point in his normal sleep/wake cycle, because he works midnights. Though he presumably doesn't have all the extra repercussions that fibromyalgia imposes on me from such scheduling, I am sympathetic. (But I am still glad that I won't have to get up so early that day.))

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 04:09pm on 2007-03-13 under
Still discovering more damage to car. Power steering reservoir is cracked and leaking. *pout*

[Huh. I posted this from my phone using SMS, and the timestamp was off by an hour -- I wonder what part of the chain didn't spring forward for Daylight Spending Time. I've fixed the timestamp now.]

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