I did some more car shopping this weekend, and have some more advice as follows:

  • These guys (Herb Chambers, Boston) are not the people from whom you want to buy your car. Trust me, not them.
  • In stark contrast, these folks (Honda Cars of Boston) have been nothing but nice, honest and upfront in their dealings so far.
  • The Better Business Bureau will tell you for free if a particular dealer has any unresolved complaints. Not surprisingly, the bad guys above were not reviewed favorably by the BBB.
  • New cars are expensive.
  • Insurance is expensive.

In the end, I got quality information and a decent price from Honda Cars of Boston, and ended up buying my Civic Hybrid from them. I pick it up on Thursday!

I made an appointment with an insurance agent to start a new policy for the new car, and we had the following exchange on the phone:

Me: So I’ll just come by your office tomorrow morning.
Insurance Agent: Yep, and be sure to bring… well, what should you be sure to bring?
IA: [Thinks to herself for a minute]
IA: Ah yes, your checkbook. That’s it.

Subtle, aren’t they?

posted March 31, 2003 – 10:27 am

Grr… more double standards. Makes me so mad!

posted March 28, 2003 – 8:20 am

Perhaps I’m preaching to the choir, but this war stuff gets me so riled up…

How is it possible for politicians to sleep at night when they pull crap like this (especially after taking money from certain parties involved)? It’s truly pitiful that this man can only think about what kind of cell phone service Iraqi’s will get after this war when there are thousands of people without food, water or electricity.

To back up some of my earlier comments, take a look here. Briefly quoting:

High on the Bush administration’s list of justifications for war against Iraq are President Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons, nuclear and biological programs, and his contacts with international terrorists. What U.S. officials rarely acknowledge is that these offenses date back to a period when Hussein was seen in Washington as a valued ally.

The article goes on to point out that we actually condoned the use of (and helped Iraq acquire) chemical weapons. Rumsfeld himself was involved, travelling there in the early 80’s to establish a relationship between our countries. What a mess!

It’s an ugly, ugly situation. There’s no way that the US would stand idly by and let other countries wage such a war anywhere in the world, let alone in an oil-rich area. But we’re the big bully on the block, unwilling to hold ourselves to the stardards we use for others and incognizant of our foolishness.

posted March 28, 2003 – 6:28 am

Bingos from tonight’s games at the Scrabble club (lower-case letters mean I used a blank):


I went 1-2 again – one game I had sucky letters, one I should have lost, the last I did win. Good times…

posted March 27, 2003 – 9:27 pm

CD Collins was on my friend Rif’s radio show last night – she’s a hoot! Listen at her website or check her out in person sometime, ’cause it’s great entertainment.

posted March 26, 2003 – 2:32 pm

I had a very strange attempted car-buying experience last night:

After test driving the Civic Hybrid, I sat down with the salesman to start working out a deal.

After he told me the sticker price, I said, “I’m not interested in paying that much for the car.” So he asked what I wanted to pay. Based on information I found here and elsewhere, I made him an offer of $2500 less than the sticker price.

He wrote the offer on his worksheet and got up to “go show it to his manager.” Now, I happened to turn around and watch where he went, and he didn’t even get close to his manager’s desk. But, in any event, he comes back and says, “Great, if you’re ready to buy the car today, we can give that price.” I agreed, and he asked for my credit card – yikes!

I wasn’t interested in giving him any money ’til I had something that looked like a contract or agreement in front of me, and I said so. He took me over to his manager, allegedly to start the paperwork, and his manager said, “I can’t sell you the car for that price. I can’t even come close to matching it. Sorry.”

Remember, my sales guy was supposed to have already checked with the manager on the price I’d offered. Weird, huh? Was it a scam? Was the sales guy just dumb? What’s up?

If you want to avoid this kind of junk, you’d best avoid Cambridge Honda.

posted March 26, 2003 – 6:19 am

After a week’s delay, there are some great pictures from the Pi(e) Party here. Especially impressive was the chocolate cake Anna & Danielle made. See?

posted March 24, 2003 – 5:46 pm

Is this real? I hope not.

I fared quite a bit worse at this month’s

Scrabble tournament, but still had a good time. Between bad letters and a bad day, I went 1-4 with a pretty bad point spread. There’s always next month…

posted March 24, 2003 – 10:21 am

Bingos (words using all seven letters) I played at the Scrabble club tonight:


I missed RITARDS – plural of the musical denotation ritard – but it’s not clear I had a place to play it. I had fun, winning one game and losing two.

By the way, we’re at war! I’m not thrilled, and hope things work out for the best over there. Now that we’ve started it, at least we should:

  • get the fighting over with as fast as possible – there are thousands of troops in the desert that don’t deserve to be there.
  • remember that being against the war doesn’t mean you’re not patriotic. Enough said.
  • not injure or kill any Iraqi civilians – I’ve heard all sorts of discussions saying that if we only kill fewer civilians than would have died under Saddam’s rule, we’re doing okay. This isn’t accounting, people, it’s real people you’re talking about. No killing them. Okay?
  • not give up on rebuilding the government there as quickly as we seem to have in Afganistan – the Minister of Finance from Afganistan (or equivalent) was recently in the Senate pleading for them to at least give them some of the money we’ve promised. So far, I’m not impressed though.
  • remember that we had a lot to do with causing the trouble in Iraq – many people seem to forget that the US sold Saddam chemical weapons and the plans to build nuclear reactors back in the day, and they speak ill of the French for helping him. We don’t have to be proud of it, but we should own up to mistakes and not repeat them again and again and again.
posted March 20, 2003 – 7:34 pm

In the mall at lunchtime, I heard some of the worst muzak ever: Madonna. I’ve got nothing against Madonna. Heck, I’ve even been known belt my poor falsetto along with ‘Like A Prayer’. However, Muzak versions of ‘Material Girl’ and ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ proved bad enough to send me from the mall like Iraqi soldiers from Saddam.

posted March 19, 2003 – 11:25 am

Well, there was no singing at the Pi party on Saturday, but there was lots of pie and some amazing other desserts. Look for pictures soon, but not too soon, as I left my digital camera in New York on Sunday night. I’ll have it back this weekend…

Happy Purim! Someone (the Purim Fairy?) left a little package of treats on my doorstep this morning – thanks to whomever it was!

I’m signed up for Ben’s Scrabble Tournament this weekend and somehow got placed in division 2. Yikes!

posted March 18, 2003 – 7:13 am

Happy Pi Day!

Also today (technically sometime around 8 PM), I am one quarter century old. It’s nice to know that rental car companies can no longer gouge me for being young, instead they can only gouge me for returning cars without gas, etc. Some festivities are in order, so I’m having a small dinner tonight and a big party tomorrow. Every year, the big question at the Pi Party is: will there be singing? This could be the year…

posted March 14, 2003 – 8:05 am

Bob Levey, a columnist for the Washington Post, hosted an online interview/discussion with John Williams, director of the National Scrabble Association. Check it out here.

posted March 12, 2003 – 7:38 am

I added some more links to the diversions page. Enjoy.

Can you believe this crap? Leaders of our country, my ass…

posted March 12, 2003 – 7:15 am

It’s not like I live under a rock, but I just found out this morning that amount you’re allowed to contribute to your IRA has been increased to $3000 from $2000. Sign me up!

I’ve been playing some correspondance Scrabble lately. If you want real-time play, go to the ISC.

posted March 10, 2003 – 8:02 am

I’ve gotten some great feedback on the piano bench – great as in positive, but also great as in helpful. A few folks mentioned that if, indeed, the bench is flipped over, the surface that gets put on the floor will most likely get scratched up without protection of some sort. Also, the open shelves would make it difficult to flip over. It seems more likely at this point that it’ll look symmetric but really not be invertible – the top may have shelves, but it also could have a hinged storage area more like a “regular” piano bench.

I’m not a huge fan of rankings or ratings when it comes to competitive games or sports, but they can be fun sometimes. My Scrabble rating arrived – it’s 950. Not too shabby.

posted March 7, 2003 – 7:13 am

I put up some pictures of a plan for a piano bench I designed for Rif. Check it out here.

posted March 6, 2003 – 7:34 am

My hankerin’ for bi bim bab has been addressed. Thanks to all of you who wrote in concerned.

I had this great experience the other night after watching Say Anything (a great film, by the way). All through the movie, I kept having this feeling that I knew someone who spoke (with a cute lisp) exactly like Ione Skye, the actress who plays Diane, but I couldn’t remember who. As I fell asleep, I convinced myself I would have a dream that had the person I knew in it. And I did. Pretty sweet. Sadly, subsequent efforts to control my dreams have failed, and I guess I’ll have to scrap the plan where I control the dreams of others in an effort to rule the world. Oh well…

posted March 5, 2003 – 6:17 am

Some great buzzwords & phrases heard in an executive speech:

  • the word repurpose
  • the word mythologize (which is real, but not really used)
  • the phrase take-away used as a noun (e.g. “The take-away of this meeting is…”)
  • the if I got hit by a bus today story about spreading information
  • the phrase inflection point (which I quite like, actually)
  • a short story about how the Chinese character for problem also means opportunity

It was short, though, and I actually got a very good impression of the guy giving the talk.

posted March 4, 2003 – 9:27 am

I actually wrote in an email this morning “I’ve got a hankerin’ for bi bim bab.” How you do think the Koreans or the cowboys feel about that?

I feel like I’m back in my elementary school cafeteria, but instead of mystery meat for lunch, I’ve got a mystery meeting this morning.

posted March 4, 2003 – 6:54 am

It looks like I’ll be going to Chicago in a month or so. I want to take one of the architectural boat tours (architecture of the city by boat, rather than the architecture of boats, which might also be interesting). Any idea if they’ll be running yet (or worth doing) in mid-April?

I went climbing at a different rock gym this weekend. I found the Boston Rock Gym a fair bit less challenging than the Mill City Rock Gym, but the folks were nice, and it’s certainly closer to home. A nice change of pace, but I probably won’t become a regular there.

Laura and I went to Mount Snow on Saturday to find some decent skiing. I had a voucher from a trip last year for a lift ticket and rental, so between us, the only cost was her lift ticket. It wasn’t cheap, though – a full day of skiing will cost you at least $61 (rental’s more, food’s exceeding expensive, even for skiing). My advice: if someone’s paying for you there, it’s fine; if you’re paying, save your money and go somewhere else.

posted March 3, 2003 – 7:51 am
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