Thursday, June 21, 2007

Don't complain (like THAT'S going to happen)

The input on automobile industry was helpful, and I thank all of you for your input, regardless of how sarcastic or short sighted one of the contributors was. I guess all I have to say to conclude is this: If you are unwilling to put any effort into fixing a problem, make sure you're not complaining about its repercussions.

Repercussions...hmmm. Much is made of celebrities getting special treatment. I agree that this is happening, and famous people all over the world get treated differently than us commoners. However, I think the bar needs to be raised all the way around. Even most bitter blogging rivals would agree that personal responsibility is at a pitiful low in this country.

Yes, I have an example. One of my co-workers in contemplating filing for bankruptcy. She doesn't own a company, her job did not get moved oversees. She got divorced a few years ago and forgot to consider that her income might be lower now that she is by herself. So instead of cutting down on fast food (eats out every day), concerts and events (going to Kenny Chesney tonight, Eric Clapton whenever) and trips to Walmart for piles of crap, she decides that it is time to file for bankruptcy.

Do I admit that there are times when bankruptcy is justified for an individual? You're expecting me to say yes by the way the question is asked. However, I would need some pretty dire circumstances to accept that...and things should be done on a payment plan, not completely wiped clean. Sure, a clean slate would be nice, but why should you be forgiven thousands of dollars for saying oops? I am reminded of Denis Leary's rant about rehab. Go on a six month bender, all sorts of drugs, beat my kids, crash my car (Paris? Lohan?)...then go into rehab, come out and be on the cover of People smiling with the headline "SORRY", and all is forgiven. Bankruptcy is the same thing, except instead of coke and booze, it's shoes, clothes and cell phone accessories. Get a grip people, credit cards are not toys.

Yes, I have overspent my income at times. Yes, I have made some dumb decisions. I have never run to Uncle Sam to save me, however. I only jumped out of what my own parachute could save me from.

Anyone know if personal bankruptcy is popular oversees? I'm too lazy to do research on this one.

Monday, June 18, 2007

NEGATIVEly Affected

I know that very few people actually read this blog, but I'm going to do a participatory exercise anyway. It seems to me that this country has taken to dogging its automakers to the point that they don't even have any reasons anymore, they just do it out of habit. Personally, I'm a Chevy guy and have been very happy with all of the vehicles I have owned. My wife now has a Pontiac and is very happy with it.
Yes, I admit that there is a chance that we are in the minority, but we have had limited problems with our vehicles that are tied to anything other than our own stupidity. I want to know just how rare we are.

So here's the exercise: Please list the vehicles you have owned in the last 10 years. Briefly describe to me the situation (new, used, bought, leased, gramma drove it before I did, etc), and then tell me how it went. This exercise will take a few minutes, but please bare with me.

Hopefully for all of you American haters out there, you can prove me wrong and show me that American cars suck. More likely, I will show you how much you don't really know what you're bitching about.

I'll start off:
1990 Chevy S-10 pickup (Extended Cab, 4WD). Had a rust problem that stemmed from the plastic fender flares, but accepted every beating I gave it. Got me back and forth to Potsdam a couple dozen times and even beat a V-6 Mustang in a race down Western Ave in Albany. I sold it in 2001 with 120k miles on it for $400 (needed new front brakes at the time). I saw it two years later with some recent body work still putting around Potsdam. The AC was empty and I broke the lever that allowed me to have anything but hot air in the cabin, but those were both mostly my fault.

2002 Chevy Blazer (2-door, 4WD) Bought it brand new, actually ordered it from the factory. Had 3 miles on it. Within the warranty period, it had some issues with the distributor that needed to be fixed. The last of which was technically outside of the warranty period, but since it was related to the other issues they graciously fixed it at no cost to me. Since then, I had to have the 4 wheel drive module moved once because it was getting wet during heavy rains and causing some problems. Other than that, we've made a few dozen trips to Potsdam from Rochester and Albany together, and with the sub that my brother gave me as a college graduation present, it keeps me running all winter long. It's a great compromise between car and truck, but yeah, it might be nice to get a little better gas mileage. Just turned 80,000 miles.

1999 Chevy Camaro SS Convertible (2-door, RWD) This is the second best decision I ever made. Marrying Lisa is of course number 1, and going away to Clarkson is a close third. I bought Camy used, it had 27,500 miles on it when I bought it (yes another cute 7/25-related number) from a pansy down in CT. He was having a baby soon and they were no longer going to be able to afford the payments on the car on top of the kid and their overpriced townhouse by the very fishy-smelling water. I gladly took her off his hands and brought it to NY. This is another vehicle that I have given some abuse, mostly because it has a 320 hp V8 and I have a heavy right foot. I had to replace part of the liner to the convertible top because it was leaking into the trunk, but that way a couple hundred dollars and has been great ever since. I did have a creature make a nest in the engine compartment and had to replace some ignition wires, but that's hardly GMs fault. I made sure to keep it on the driveway this winter and put some traps out just in case. I've had some brake work done, but the way I drive, that's not surprising. Camy has about 55,000 miles on her now and is sitting out in the parking lot just waiting for me to fire her up again. I get about 23 miles to the gallon overall, close to 30 highway with the 6 speed manual. 6th gear cuts the rpms to about 1700 at 75 mph, but still leaves me with enough acceleration to get out of the way if I need it.

So there are my stories. Each vehicle has had it's little things, but certainly nothing worth crying home to mom about. The other point to mention, these vehicles have all been FUN TO DRIVE, which is a lot more than I can say for most imports that I have driven.

Thanks for listening, and I look forward to your stories.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Another long layoff

So what brings me out of my hibernation?
Paris Hilton.
Not because I think she is hot, because frankly I do not. I am here only to applaud the judge in the case for making her go to jail. Although she got a far softer sentence than most people would for doing what she did, he stuck to his guns and made her go to jail. Let this be a lesson to all you Hollywood stars: Every once in a great while, a judge will give you what you deserve. Are you willing to play Russian roulette with the judicial system?

On a side note, congratulations to the Anaheim Ducks (ironic that they take the "mighty" out of their name and they become the most mighty team in all the land) for winning the Stanley Cup. A special shout goes out to Clarkson alumni Todd Marchant and Kent Huskins, who were on the winning team. This makes 3 years in a row that Clarkson has been represented in the finals, and two in a row that they have won. Hey Cornell, RPI, and other annoying red schools: how many do you have?

Note: Andy MacDonald doesn't count, Colgate is maroon and not nearly as cocky and annoying