Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Clarification

My new Mazda will NOT be called the pickle. I'm thinking the Rachel Express... developing...

Monday, February 27, 2006


I finally got my new Mazda3i-touring and I love it. Now I just have the insurance, payments, warranty, and transfer of plates, title, and other little stuff like that to take care of. Ha! On the up-side, it's almost done!

The Rachel Train is with Wilbur today, and I'll get her back at the end of the day. Hopefully I will sell her to my sister? Not sure. Either to her or to a complete stranger where it will probably be treated a lot nicer... but shh, I didn't say that.

So now ya'll don't have to read about my trials and tribulations of finding a new car. Now it'll be about selling my old one!

However, at the end of all of this, I will make many vows to my brand spankin' new car that I
didn't make to the Rachel Train.

~ I will never drive you through flooded seas.
~ I will never give you a love bump harder than a squeeze.
~ I will change your oil on a regular basis.
~ I will fix your windshield wipers promptly and not wait 2 years.
~ I will try to keep the hoodlums away from you with your new alarm.
~ I will not leave invaluable CDs inside, so that some punk will come along and rip off your face and mar your beauty.
~ I will not drive you over the canyon that St. Paul calls a road.

So many more promises to make, but I think that covers the basis. I feel pure bliss driving my beauteous new car. :-D Hooray!

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

And by sun... I mean my checkbook. Tomorrow's the day I go talk to the Mazda guy and sign my money away for the next few years. A sad day for the Rachel Train, but a happy time for "unknown".

I'm so very grateful that the hard-balling, and the negotiating, and the option searching is over at last! I can stop making phone calls to different dealerships, loan venues, my insurance guy, and to my dad. I think he stressed out about it far more than I did. That's how you know they care, when they drive you to the precipice of insanity. That's my family. God love 'em.

I hope to have my new car next week. Hopefully I will not agree that "pickle" is a suitable name for it, but only time will tell.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Here Comes.... ?

I'm waiting to make the go-ahead call to John for my new Mazda3i-touring. (Isn't it purdy?) I can't wait! But I'm going to have to. We're checking out a few more financing options and sprucing up the little Rachel Train. Then it's go time!

I've been thinking about what to call my new companion. I don't even know how the Rachel Train came to be. It was always the Rachel Train. It's "all-aboard the Rachel Train" was legendary on the hill of Gustavus. Everyone (who was somebody) got to cruise in my pimped out ride.

People have suggested that I call it the Rachel Train as well, but let's face it, there's something about a pimped out Geo Prizm that can't quite be compared to a Mazda. And the Rachel Train is irreplaceable.

It's quite the pickle.

Monday, February 20, 2006

My Million Dollar Baby

Well, I brought my beloved Geo into Wilbur (my mechanic) today to fix the damage that only idiotic hoodlums could have made. My banged in lock. I figured I should get the slightly malfunctioning door handle fixed, since it's already there. To fix the bruised lock is going to cost me another little bundle for the parts. Wilbur can fix the temperamental handle without any parts.

This whole break-in is getting to be quite expensive. (and by quite expensive, I mean look for me in about a week living in a box at the end of the block.) And for what? A half dismembered CD player, and some Broadway/opera CD's. Stupid stupid people!

My hatred for these imbeciles is growing with each passing second. I don't understand the human race. Who would do something like that? Why not break into a car and steal a good CD player, or at least take the part that plays the CD's!? Why would you take something so meaningless to you, and not worth much to pawn shops, when it could mean a lot to someone. Who does that?!

Maybe I'm naive... but I just don't understand some people.

Friday, February 17, 2006

To My Amazing Friends

This is a thank you for those who have taken the time to start replenishing a part of my life that was stolen from me. Rob, Cathy, Abbie, and Brian, how can I ever thank you?

You've burned me CD's that you've had, or given me gift certificates to buy more, or have bought new ones as well. I can't even tell you how much I appreciate it. Music is the heart and soul of my being, and now it's being filled again with love and friendship. You guys are the best.

I love Carmen, and kudos to Rob for getting me a fabulous version of it! (With a little help from a fellow music nerd.) I now have a version of Carmen with Marilyn Horne and the Metropolitan Opera in the
Deutsche Grammophon version. Yessss! And thank you for offering to burn me your collection as well.

Never worry that your friends are mooches, because it'll always be for the best. Karma friends, karma. Thanks to Cathy who burned about 1/3 of all my CD collection last summer (including an irreplaceable CD!) and taking the time to burn me all of them again, and sending them too me, along with some of hers. I can't tell you how grateful I will be to get that wonderful package in the mail.

Thanks to Abbie for offering to let me use her computer to burn CD's, and for coming up with the idea of visiting the local library for some of those rarer CD's. I wouldn't have thought to check them out, but I bet they'll have a lot of my older operas.

To get a gift certificate is great, to get one to one of my favorite stores is too much for words. Thanks Brian for the generous certificate to Applause to continue rebuilding my collection. Now I'll drag you there every night... they're open until midnight!

Thank you thank you thank you to everyone! These gestures really mean a lot to me. I can't tell you enough how grateful I am for your kindness and thoughtfulness. I love you guys.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Car Quest Has Begun

I test drove the 3 cars last night that could possible replace my beloved Rachel Train. I'm looking at the Toyota Corolla CE, the Honda Civic LX, and the Mazda3 i-touring. It's not going to be an easy decision.

I started at Toyota and the
Corolla drove very similarly to my little Geo. I liked the way it felt, and it was a nice ride. However, Toyota consists of packages and add-ons. The car comes with virtually nothing, and you must buy an entire package to add things. I haven't ever had power windows, and to get that, you had to buy the "UP" (upgrade) package, and to get ABS you had to add on the "safety package". It was all rather confusing, and you get a few more things in the packages than you really need or want.

Honda was our next stop. I thought this whole car shopping thing would be much easier. You find a car that you really feel comfortable in, and you'd just know which one to get. Wrong! The
Civic handled so similar to the Corolla that it was going to be a tough decision. The Civic was a little more dramatic in the handling, not quite as supple as the Corolla, but very similar. I did not like the inside of the Civic. Perhaps if I were an 18 year old guy I would prefer the electronic double dash with all the flashing lights and graphics. Alas, I am not. They were distracting, even when I dimmed the dash. This car was bumped behind the Corolla on my favorite list.

We journey on to Mazda. We grow weary (after all it is 8:30 on a week night!), and since both of the other dealers compared these 3 cars as well, I expected the same feel as the other 2. My mistake! The
Mazda3i has a bigger engine, it has much more space inside, and it handles much better than the other 2. The brakes were amazing too. My favorite to drive by far. The downside? There's huge rear blind spots that make it difficult for us little folks to see past. Otherwise, it was a very smooth ride. The dash was a little obnoxious with all red lights giving you the evil eye, but you can dim those pretty low, and at least it's not the flashing blue/white/red/green/yellow like the Civic.

Now it all comes down to my pocketbook. They're all in the same range, but it depends how much each will come down. The Mazda dealership that I went to, doesn't barter at all. They gave me a reasonable price, and said there's no haggling in this store at all. So, unless the Corolla can give me everything I want, (with the 8 million packages you have to buy to get power windows), it looks like the Mazda wins out. (The Civic is out of the running.) However, I think Toyota will come down significantly.

Only time, and some hard-balling will tell. I hate haggling. I'm not good at car haggling... because I've never done it, and it's a pain.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My Olympics Obsession

The Olympics have finally begun! I anxiously await sitting for hours in front of the TV watching curling and thousands of people skate around on the ice in speed skating, figure skating, pair skating, hokey, etc. It's Olympic time that makes me feel patriotic.

I always like a good game, but it's always more exciting to be rooting for someone. I went to a Angles/Yankees baseball game in LA, but didn't mind who won. It was a beautiful stadium and a perfect day to set the tone for a great game. Half way through I wondered why I wasn't more enthralled... I LOVE baseball! I came to the conclusion that it's not quite as fun if you don't have a team to cheer for. It makes you more invested. That's why the Olympics are so great.

When you see certain sports you know little about (for me it's curling), it makes an otherwise channel-flipping-worthy-sport fun to have someone to cheer for. It makes it that so much better to not just be cheering for your state or area, but to be cheering for you country! How great is that folks?! It makes me feel united with my country to know that every one around the USA is cheering for the same team.

I love watching every sport I possible can for the Olympics. The winter Olympics have less coverage than the summers unfortunately, because I miss the two cable channels that have solid Olympic coverage all day and night. It's so amazing to watch these athletes, that are the best in the world, compete against each other. It makes you want to take up speed skating, or the long jump, or curling! Well, ok maybe not curling...

What a great tradition. You can't help but love it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Grand Theft Auto

Well, I'm back from my Chicago audition/vacation. So much to write about! I'll have to do it in spurts. The first thing to be addressed should be the unfortunate incident that occurred before I even left for the big city.

My car was broken into.

Yes, that's right, some punk must have thought that I had big bucks to be driving a broken little Geo Prizm.

I was walking out with all my luggage at 7:30am Saturday morning, when I noticed that my car door was ajar. I walk closer, and realize that all the locks are unlocked, I peek inside and everything is strewn about. My glovebox was open and emptied, my CD player was destroyed, and worst of all, all my CD's were gone. I have kept them in a case in between the seats for 8 years now. They're my crutch.

They're my most cherished possession, and now they're gone. What thief would want Marilyn Horne, or all of my Broadway collections? The worst of it, is that most of them can't be replaced because they're not retail CD's. I got them by going to specific performances and then purchasing them at the theatre. Who would want them? They're not worth anything to those kinds of people. It's just such a depressing experience. It's like having a huge part of your life ripped away from you. I'm still really bummed about the CD's. I can't get over it. And it's not like I have 4k to throw down on new CD's either. That's the worst thing they could've taken.

My CD player's face was ripped off, but not the device that actually plays the CD's. These people are genius. Now it's useless to both of us. Keep in mind friends, that this was NOT a new player by any means. I think that it was about 10 years old, and it scratches CD's over time. I could care less about the CD player, but I still mourn the loss of all of my CD's.

Now my poor little Geo, who's been through thick and thin with me has to go to the shop, yet again. I need to replace her lock that was punctured, and see if we can do something about her sticky door, and replace her missing eye (side headlight).

My poor baby. Violated by a stranger.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Lunch-Time Crazies

Gather 'round my friends, and I shall tell you a tale of a true lunch-time crazy. Her name and origin are unknown, but some things you probably don't want to know.

Brian and I decide to head out to Perkins for an enjoyable lunch the other day. It started out great, we didn't have to sit in the bad waitress's section. Huzzah. Victory was ours for the taking!

We got a nice booth on the side with only one other booth adjoining. We had a very nice waitress to take our orders and were waiting quietly enjoying our beverages, when all of a sudden the lady behind Brian starts saying rather outrageous things. She was accusing that the little old man sitting across from her (directly behind Brian) was treating her like crap, and was constantly depleting her self esteem. She chose more trashy words, but sounded basically unhappy with life in general.

She wasn't yelling, but had her voice slightly raised, but then out of nowhere she shoves her soup bowl across the table at the little old man. Brian and I were stunned, but didn't make a run for it. Then faster than we had time to react, she throws her
water glass at the little old man and it showers him and Brian. With her other hand she whips her bowl at the little old man, but it soars past both him and Brian and smashes inches away from my head on the wall. I look down and there's porcelain pieces all over me and the bench, Brian's soaking wet, and the crazy lady is yelling and storming out!

By the time we stand up, the lady is already walking out the door, and the little old man stands up and he's
covered with soup, water, bread, and whatever else was on the table. He couldn't have been younger than 80. He looked like a sweet old man, and he hadn't said anything during lunch, despite her accusations, but he did say that he didn't need a towel to clean up. He just walked out.

Good riddance! And that my friends, is the tale of a Perkins lunch-time crazy.