Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The wheels on the car go round and round

The Beau and I recently experienced some car trouble on the long weekend (engine died on the 400, at Barrie, which necessitated a tow back to T.O.) and this has led to the decision that it is time for a new car.  And this past Saturday, we started car shopping.

I have never been car shopping, simply because I have never had the money to own my own car.  There are cars that I like and lust over (mainly Nissan, but I wouldn't say no to a Mini convertible) but my car knowledge is purely aesthetic-based, i.e. will I look cute driving it.  So this whole car-shopping thing has been pretty interesting.

The first dealership we hit up was GM, because the Pontiac Vibe was near the top of our shortlist.  We even priced it out on the GM website beforehand to get an idea of cost.  So, we get there and the sales dude informs us the Vibe has been discontinued.  No more.  Anywhere.  Hmph.  I thought the Vibe was pretty popular, so I was surprised that it was discontinued but what irritated me more was that we had been able to price it out online.  Really, GM, if you don't have a car anymore, you shouldn't let me price it out.  Cause that's just not playing fair.

So, no Vibe.  In it's place, Mr. Sales Dude really, REALLY wanted us to buy an HHR.  (The dash looks great at night, in case you're wondering.)  Not only is the HHR more than the Vibe, it's ass ugly to boot.  (It looks a lot like the PT Cruiser, which I detest.)  However, as Mr. Sales Dude informed us, it would be a great car for Herman Munster because, in black, it looks like a hearse.  Nothing says young-couple-with-a-bright-and-happy-future like a hearse.

 Not a fan.

And to think my tax dollars bailed GM out for this.

After GM, we hit up Ford and test drove a Focus.  Nice car, quiet, smooth ride, but I bumped my head on the roof while in the back seat and I'm not that tall.  Then we went to Hyundai and test drove the Elantra Touring, which I liked best, but I don't know if the Beau is sold.  The Touring has gobs of room but could be construed as a wagon rather than a hatchback.  (I don't see wagon, but the Beau does.) 

I'd drive this.

We still have Mazda and Toyota to check out; as luck (or auto manufacturing) would have it, the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe are pretty much the same car, so we may get our Vibe on yet.  But regardless of what we get (really, what the Beau gets, as it will still be his car) I'm just excited that my automotive knowledge is slowly extending beyond knowing how good I'd look in a Nissan Z-car.  


Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to repel men

Today I stumbled across www.manrepeller.com, which is pretty fun.  I first read about it in The Toronto Star and the article helps clarify that the author, Leandra Medine, isn't just making fun of high fashion because she's bitter or vindictive; rather, she admits to lusting after much of it but enjoys poking fun at its man-repelling qualities.

I have to admit, especially since I started working on Flare, I've always wondered about high-end fashion and how it's considered, well, fashionable.  I understand the point of haute couture and I get how some things that come down the runway are supposed to be avant garde and not for everyday wear, but still.  Maybe designer duds wouldn't have to cost so much if the designers would just stop making such ridiculous outfits which don't sell; that way, they wouldn't have to make their living off $500 t-shirts and the rest of us plebeians could actually afford some of this stuff.

I mean, seriously, this is high fashion?  (According to Halston, it is.)

Or...a Chanel offering, which is apparently from their Ready-to-Wear line.  C'mon, really?

Then again, when these are some of the people dictating what the latest fashions are, I shouldn't be surprised that some stuff can be a little, erm, out there.

Um, hi Karl Lagerfeld

You're a dapper wee man, Alber Elbaz.

 Oh, Betsey Johnson, you're just a little crazy.

But at least these and other designers keep fashion fun, if not always wearable.  Not that it matters to me and my jeans-and-t-shirt clad self...although I do enjoy looking at the pictures.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

X marks the spot

I'm a little terrified about the upcoming municipal election here in Toronto because of Rob Ford.  It not only horrifies me that he is the frontrunner but that my vote will not go towards the person I think is best for mayor but towards the person I think has the best chance of beating Rob Ford.  (It also seems, more and more, that that's how politics at all levels are going: vote for the person most likely to beat the person you hate most.  Viva democracy, or something like that.)

Today in the paper, I read that Rob Ford wants to scrap streetcars in favour of more subways and, on some routes, replace streetcars with buses.  I already know that the man is an idiot, but this is just beyond stupid.  The cost of building subways is astronomical compared to other options for transit.  Streetcars hold more passengers than buses, so it makes no sense to replace streetcars with buses.  He wants to spend $3 billion to extend the Sheppard subway line; it's already underused, so how can one justify that much money on it? 

The beau and I were discussing transit last Friday night and we both think that streetcars are the way to go to connect the city.  Yes, in a perfect world, there would be subway tunnels that actually connected the city, but they are costly in both time and money.  Streetcar tracks aren't the easiest thing to put in, but they must go faster and cost less than a subway tunnel.  And streetcar stops consist of a pole with a sign stuck to it and (possibly) a shelter; subway stations are all kinds of work to build and the TTC can't maintain the ones they have now, so why give them more to ignore? 

The more I see about the candidates and their platforms, the more I realize that Rob Ford doesn't give a rat's ass about you unless you drive a car - one of his reasons for getting rid of streetcars is to relieve gridlock.  I don't understand how taking a dozen streetcars off the road relieves the gridlock caused by the hundreds of cars that wouldn't have to be Toronto streets if we had transit that actually went places.

Oh, and another thing about subways tunnels is that they can't go just anywhere, but streetcar tracks can more easily be built into existing roads.  (I make this statement with all my in-depth knowledge of urban planning and road construction and whatever kind of engineering this would encompass.)  So, again, explain to me why it makes sense to build more subway tunnels? 

Rob Ford is an idiot, but he terrifies me.  If he wins, with Stephen Harper still in power federally, I may just have to move to Antarctica.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What the hell is wrong with people?

This Saturday, September 11 marks nine years since the attack on the World Trade Center.  And, according to one Florida pastor, what's the best way to honour it?  Why, by burning the Koran, for the International Burn a Koran Day, of course.

Pardon me, but what the fuck is wrong with him?

This angers me on so many levels, I'm not really sure where to start.  I guess the easiest place to start would be with the complete and utter ignorance "Doctor" Terry Jones is showing by thinking this is a good idea.  He was inspired to do this as a protest for the proposal to build a mosque near Ground Zero.  Does he really think that by attacking the Koran that Muslims will step back and say, "Clearly he is right.  If he is willing to burn the Koran he must mean business.  We will stop what we are doing."?  Fucking wanker.

Also at play is the blatant hypocrisy.  Here's a man who will likely profess freedom of religion to spew his misguided hatred, but obviously won't extend that freedom to other religions that might, say, want to build a mosque in New York.  The dumbass has also taken to carrying a gun with him at all times.  Right to bear arms?  Absolutely.  Freedom of religion?  Most definitely - provided you're a right-wing, fundamentalist, whackjob Christian, of course. 

And -AND - does Terry Jones not realized that, by resorting to such fundamentalist ridiculousness and blatant hatred towards Muslims, he is acting in the same way as the fundamentalist Muslims who express hatred towards the west?  Pot, meet kettle.

U.S. General David Petraeus has condemned the burning (hurrah!), out of fear that it will endanger the lives of American soldiers as well as Americans worldwide and would put the completion of the mission in Afghanistan in jeopardy (oh).  After all, it's only the lives of Americans we care about here.  Offending a major world religion?  Meh.  Offending the people in a country we're supposed to be "helping"?  Pfft.

It's been nine years since 9/11 and to those of us following reputable media outlets (i.e. not Fox News) we have been able to see that ideological conflicts are not resolved by telling the other side they are completely wrong (or with illegal wars, but that's another issue).  So, maybe instead of being completely intolerant, we try something crazy, like acceptance of differences?  Maybe instead of further polarizing those we perceive as our enemy, we try to reach common ground?  Maybe instead of hating anything and everything that isn't red-white-and-blue (emphasis on white), we try not hating and see where that gets us? 

(Yes, I understand that I am using "we" to lump together Americans and Canadians, but you can't deny that Canada is heavily influenced by what happens down south.  Ignorant bastards that they are sometimes.)