Monday, May 18, 2009


Seriously are you freaking kidding me? stop calling me XM Radio!!!!! If I want your service I will subscribe, if I don't - I won't. Calling me every day for weeks and weeks on end will not make me subscribe. In fact, by calling me this frequently you are actually making me HATE you and not want your service! I feel harassed!

I am on the do not call registry and don't expect telemarketer calls to begin with. But here's the dilemma: I bought a car 3 months ago and with it came a free trial of XM Radio. I didn't technically 'subscribe', or give them any information, or "opt-in" to getting calls from them. Perhaps my dealer supplied them with my phone number and home address (they are also sending me stuff in the mail) which I'm guessing they needed to turn the service on, but I did not provide that directly to them.

Now my trial is about to expire and they have been calling me 1-3 times a day at all hours of the day and night for about 7 weeks (maybe longer). Enough already! I want to file a complaint with the Do Not Call Registry, but apparently they need to violate the following things to have a valid complaint:

The telemarketer calls before 8 AM or after 9 PM; OR

The telemarketer leaves a message, but fails to leave a phone number that you can call to sign up for their company specific do-not-call list; OR

You receive a telemarketing call from a company that you have previously requested not call you; OR

The telemarketing firm fails to identify itself; OR

You receive a pre-recorded commercial message from someone with whom you do not have an established business relationship and to whom you have not given permission to call you.

Conveniently they call exactly within the "legal" hours. But seriously 8PM is still pretty late to be calling my house unless I know you!

They never leave a message, and according to their website I'm not ALLOWED to opt-out of phone calls. WTF??!!!! Technically I NEVER subscribed - it was a free trial that came with the car. It's not like I can shut that off.

XM's phone policy:

Specifically, by registering on the Site, or by subscribing to the SIRIUS XM Service and providing your telephone number, you agree that this action constitutes a purchase, inquiry and/or application for purposes of telemarketing laws. Regardless of the fact that your telephone and/or cell number may be listed with the Federal Do-Not-Call Registry, or your local State Do-Not-Call list, you expressly consent to receive future information about products and services from us, and in, that regard, you hereby consent to our contacting you pursuant to the business relationship established using the information you provided to us. This means we may contact you, in person or by recorded message, by e-mail, phone and/or cell number (including use of automated dialing equipment), text (SMS) message, or any other means of communication that your wireless or other telecommunications device may be capable of receiving (e.g. video etc.), except as may be prohibited by law. (Please note that as of September 1, 2009, we will not contact you by the use of a prerecorded telephone message unless we have your prior express consent of a higher quality standard, as required by Federal law.)

I have yet to answer the phone because according to posts I've read online they are extremely aggressive with trying to get people to sign up, won't let you opt-out etc. I have enough stress, arguments, and irritation in my life - I'm not picking up the phone to argue with them too.

Here's a quick log of phone calls from my iphone history for the last WEEK (my phone only stores 1 week of call history):

Tuesday, May 12th: 9:22 am
Tuesday, May 12th: 2:29 pm
Tuesday, May 12th: 8:02 pm

Wednesday, May 13th: 1:51 pm
Wednesday, May 13th: 8:38 pm

Thursday, May 14th: 1:27 pm
Thursday, May 14th: 7:08 pm

Friday, May 15th: 1:10 pm

Saturday, May 16th: 11:32 am

Sunday, May 17th 3:25 pm

Monday, May 18th: 1:40 pm
Monday, May 18th: 6:49pm

Tuesday, May 19th: 6:43pm

Wednesday, May 20th: 2:53pm
Wednesday, May 20th: 8:38pm

Are you kidding me? How is this not harassment? Who the f**k opts-into this? Where are my rights? I mean it's one thing to call a person that uses your service, it's quite another to call them over and over and over for weeks.

And while I am bitching about telemarketing calls, I should also mention I used Stanley Steemer once in my life a year ago to clean a rug when I moved out of my apartment.

I was unhappy with the service because:

A: they under-quoted me by $175 - for a 1 BR apt (2 rooms), but when they got to the apt they "claimed" each section was a "room" so I got charged for a 4 room apt. Trust me this place was about 600 sq ft it was NOT 4 rooms! The previous tenant had used a different cleaner (and provided me their receipt when I moved in - in case I wanted to use them when I moved out), but I went with Stanley because they quoted me $50 less than the other cleaners had charged the previous tenant. What a waste - instead of saving $50, I ended up spending $125 more! ARGH

B: I scheduled them for 9am and they showed up at 3:30 pm. That would be 6.5 hours late while and I was left sitting there waiting in an empty apartment!!!

C: When I called several times trying to find out where they were/when they were coming and to complain about my 6.5 hour wait they acted like it was not a problem why was I annoyed, they were "busy" that day, and assured me they were "on the way". They were "on the way" at 10:30 am when I called the first time. Where were they driving from, Maryland?

D: Had that not been the last day I had my apt & was required to clean the rugs I would have refused them entry and called another service.

Now they also call me almost daily probably trying to get me to use their service again. I didn't think using their service once to clean a rug now allowed them to call me weekly for months? Secondly, I have all hardwood floors in my house. I don't have any rugs for them to freaking clean. And thirdly, I will never, ever, ever use their "service" again.

I should also mention that neither company has actually left a voice mail - I found out who was behind the numbers by researching online and found hundreds of complaints from other people about these exact phone numbers. A quick google search brought up 111 results for XM, and 241 for Stanley - clearly people are NOT happy and are being harassed by these companies for their business. 800Notes turns out to be a pretty helpful site.

XM Radio: 877 224-8720
Stanely Steemer: 888 283-9087

My next step will be to see if I can get AT&T to block those numbers for me because I am sick of getting these calls every day several times a day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dear XM:

I recently purchased a vehicle that came with XM Radio free for 90s days. I like the idea of commercial free music - I am not interested in Talk Radio, or Howard Stern or MLB so I am only interested in the music part.

Thing is - now that you merged with Sirius you've gotten rid of all your cool music channels and just took on the Sirius channels - which to me are sub par. XM Cafe was excellent - now it's the spectrum and I turned it on today to hear a Bob Marley song off the Legend album - um ya... that album is practically handed out at college orientation - that isn't a "deep track". I want songs I don't know yet, not the same old bullshit I can listen to for free on 93.7 or some similar channel.

So far the only music channels I've found worthwhile are: Area (for some club music), 1st Wave (80s alt rock), and XMU (Indie College Radio). But honestly XMU isn't any better than WERS 88.9 Emerson college's radio station that has been going strong and FREE for 60 years! In fact 88.9 is such a great station I listen to it exclusively M-F during my commute. And 1st Wave is basically my cd collection from the 1980s - I haven't heard a song I don't already own on that station.

If you are going to get me to pay $10 a month for commercial free music I want to hear GREAT music that I haven't heard before. I don't want to hear top 40 pop that is played EVERYWHERE for free already! Or the same alt rock track every free 'alt rock' station is playing.

I know satellite radio is in trouble - I believe the way to get and keep paying subscribers is to offer channels that really are playing deep tracks, not the stuff that is already played on free stations. Otherwise people like me are going to stick to their ipods and commercial free college stations like 88.9.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I don't think so...

What the hell is this new thing, I mean jacket from Marc Jacobs?

Up close it looks like jean corduroy in a horrible light wash (not really a fan of light washed denim) and what is up with all the patches and random buttons? For almost $400 I want something that doesn't look like I bought it vintage at the thrift store.

Been on hiatus

The last month has been a tough one and I have sadly neglected my blog :(

Between work and the passing of my grandmother (my last living my grandparent) it's been a busy and an all around difficult month.

With spring rapidly (I HOPE) approaching - I am getting excited for that spring footwear again and need to figure out what the hell I am going to wear this summer!

Finally a car!

After 2 months of aggravation and negotiation - last Tuesday I finally purchased a car!

I ended up buying a TSX from Bernardi Acura in Brighton. They definitely negotiated quite a bit and overall I felt my buying experience was good (as good as it can be arguing over the price of a car). But now I have my car and I love it! The great thing about Acuras is that they have 2 packages: Base or Tech. It's that simple. I got the tech package and it's fantastic! Navigation system - that really works well, back-up camera, sunroof, voice recognition, bluetooth, XM radio, heated leather seats, and great ipod integration. Initially I had wanted an RDX, but at 17 MPG and no ipod integration - I changed my mind to the TSX which is also super fun to drive since it's a manual 6 speed.

And the Gov. just passed a new law trying to get car sales going again that any car under 45k is eligible for a tax break.

It was a long and painful process, but I ended up with a car I love!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We are so lucky

To witness this kind of history. I am so grateful to be alive today.

Never in my life have I watched a president get inaugurated into office (which probably isn't a good thing, but it is what it is). Today I have been either live streaming video at work, listening to it on the radio, or watching in on tv.

Bye bye Bush - don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another day, another vague dealer email

Perhaps I've become obsessed with my car buying, but I am determined to get a decent deal and a straight answer. Why are these things so hard? I am a really honest person, I'm going to say it like it is (and in the spirit of honesty sometimes I am just too honest).

One place emailed me back with a kind of reasonable price, with a - 'you must call us back within 72 hours to get this "great price"'. So I started looking at it - no where in their offer do they mention what color the car is (I was specific & had options) or what options are part of the car. There is no way I am going to agree on an offer that doesn't actually mention anything else except that it's a 2009 Murano. It's probably the base model, otherwise why wouldn't they specify that?

Another place wrote me with this:

I just wanted to follow up with in regards to the 2009 Nissan Murano. I have not heard from you and I wanted to know if you had any questions or needed further information on inventory or current specials and prices? I would like to schedule a meeting with you to discuss further details and a test drive. Please call me at your earliest convenience so that I may better assist you.

The reason you haven't heard from me is because
A: I said I wanted to do this transaction online as much as possible,
B: I have already test driven the car twice. I do not need to test drive yet again
C: I am not interested in more appointments that waste HOURS and HOURS of my day so I can argue with them about a price - either you can or cannot give me the price I am looking for.

And I realize not every dealer is willing to give me the price I want with the options I want - that is ok. Just say so. Don't waste my time or yours! Giving me the run around in vague emails just makes me more annoyed, and less likely I will do business with you. Trapping me in the dealership just infuriates me more- that technique doesn't work on me. Maybe it works on others, but not me. The more I sit there. the angrier I get and stubborn I become to NOT buy the car!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Saga of the car

I am getting really stubborn about this whole car buying thing, but I just really wish one of these dealers would READ my email and reply with an honest answer.

Why is that so hard?

This is my letter of what I am asking for:

I’ve already driven the Murano SL with AWD and I intend to purchase, as soon as possible, a Nissan Murano SL in Platinum Graphite Metallic.
I am soliciting multiple Nissan dealers for the best offer, but I will immediately agree to purchase under the terms described below.
If you cannot meet these terms, please send your best offer, as I will consider all offers if no dealer can meet the following proposal:

Car: Nissan Murano SL with AWD
Options: Premium Package, Technology Package, Navigation / ipod hookup, Moonroof, Leather Package
Color: Platinum Graphite Metallic (or Brilliant Silver Metallic if platinum graphite metallic is unavailable) with Black Leather interior
Price: $30,000
Financing: 60 months at 2.9 percent

I would prefer a response by email, but I can also be reached by phone at xxxxxxxxxx. I would like to finalize all paperwork by email/fax (subject, of course, to final inspection of the vehicle at delivery).

Thank You,

I know I am going slightly below invoice, but I know my trade-in is valuable and they will definitely make money on it (only 52,000 miles on an '02 Toyota) and that the economy is bad. I would consider other reasonable offers, but I'm not paying 3k over invoice (which has been a few of the offers).

More responses that don't answer my question and try to get me to come into the dealer. I am not going into 1 more dealership wasting another 3-4 hours negotiating. Plus isn't this cheaper for them anyway? If we do this all via email/fax they NEVER have to deal with me except to give me the keys and take my money!!!!!

One response:

Just a follow up to see if you reconsidered the deal presented to you when you visited us last. Again if you are still in the market or if there are any other questions I can answer please give me a call.

UM no I did not reconsider paying $3,000 over invoice. I will never reconsider that. Ever. Not in this LIFETIME.

Another response to the email I sent posted above:
I just wanted to let you know that I am still very interested and motivated to earn your business. I am committed to providing you with exceptional service.

I realize that there are lots of dealerships that are also competing for your business, but I am at least hoping to get an opportunity to compete.

Save the following INTERNET PRICING CODE: it entitles you to additional savings because I have been communicating with you. If you decide to pop-in, be sure to let them know that you have it!

Call me and I will be happy to schedule a convenient time for you to come down.

What part of I don't want to come into your dealership did they miss? And I love how there is absolutely no commitment or mention of price.



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Favorite Songs of 2008

My long overdue post about my favorite songs from 2008, in no particular order.

You don't know me - Ben Folds with Regina Spektor
Cologne - Ben Folds (really a beautiful and sad song)
Hiroshima - Ben Folds
The Frown Song - Ben Folds
Bitch Went Nuts - Ben Folds
Brainwascht - Ben Folds
Eggington - Ben Folds
Right as rain - Adele
Hometown Glory - Adele
Ballantines - Aimee Mann
Rocky took a lover - Bell X1
Flame - Bell X1
Eve, the apple of my eye - Bell X1
Natalie - Bell X1
Stupid Now - Bob Mould
Who Needs to Dream - Bob Mould
Again and Again - Bob Mould
Old highs new lows - Bob Mould
The silence between us - Bob Mould
Very Temporary - Bob Mould
Flume - Bon Iver
Skinny Love- Bon Iver
For Emma - Bon Iver
Viva la Vida - Coldplay
Lost - Coldplay
The World the people together (come on) - Dandy Warhols
Mission Control - Dandy Warhols
Bixby Canyon Bridge - Death Cab for Cutie
I will possess your heart - Death Cab for Cutie
No sunlight - Death Cab for Cutie
Cath... - Death Cab for Cutie
Long Division - Death Cab for Cutie
Mercy - Duffy
No Hiding Place - Elvis Costello
American Gangster Time - Elvis Costello
My Three Sons - Elvis Costello
Love Complete - The Epochs
White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes
Ragged Wood - Fleet Foxes
Quiet Houses - Fleet Foxes
Your Protector - Fleet Foxes
Blue Ridge Mountains - Fleet Foxes
Be OK - Ingrid Michaelson
Over the Rainbow - Ingrid Michaelson
Keep Breathing - Ingrid Michaelson
Can't help falling in love - Ingrid Michaelson
This Lonely Love - Juliana Hatfield
I'm that chick - Mariah Carey. Yes I said it and I'm not embarrassed it's a fun song!
Evil Urges - My Morning Jacket
Touch me and I'm going to scream pt. 1 and 2 - My morning jacket
I'm Amazed - My morning Jacket
Sec Walkin - My morning Jacket
Bag it Up - Oasis
The shock of the lightning - Oasis
I'm Outta time - Oasis
The girl you lost to cocaine - Sia
Thinkin Bout Cops - Slightly Stoopid
Please just take these photos from my hands - snow patrol
I decided - Solange
Love is Noise - the Verve
Judas - the Verve
Rather Be - the Verve
Pork and Beans - Weezer
Let's Dance to Joy Division - The Wombats
Rainy Day Blues - Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis
I'm not gonna teach your boyfriend how to dance with you - Black Kids
L.E.S Artistes - Santogold
Black & Gold - Sam Sparro
Yeah Yeah - Brian Jonestown Massacre
Chip of a Star - Chatham County Line
Catch - Devics
Losing Me - Diego
Pony (it's ok) - Erin McCarley
Wisdom - Gran Ronde
Another Day - Jamie Lidell
Walking on Air - Kerli

Anything I missed out on in 2008 that I should add to my playlist?

Car Buying Part 2.. or 3

I get more annoyed as this process goes on. Why is it really this difficult to get a straight answer and buy a car? WHY?

I don't think there is anything more annoying or difficult to buy than a car.

I recently got this response to my request about an RDX:

The one thing that no Acura dealership can promise you right now is any type of special financing as the rebates combined with the special financing ended Monday. If you're willing to pay a little more for the RDX, you are qualified to get the special financing. Otherwise, we can get you an awesome price, but your financing will be dependent on the best we can find in the market today (which is normally the best available as we have up to 20 banks at any given time fighting to earn our business!).

Which one of those two options are the better choice for you? Let me know so that way I can get you the best information and price to your financing option as possible!

Why the hell would I have to pay MORE to get good financing. On WHAT PLANET is that acceptable?

Here's my reply to the most recent bullshit:

Currently Acura’s website is listing the financing as follows:

Special AHFC A.P.R. financing available on all new 2009 RDX models. 0.90% APR financing for 24-36 months or 2.90% APR financing for 37-60 months available to customers who qualify for the AHFC Super Preferred credit tier. Example for 2009 RDX: 0.90% for 36 months financing at $28.16 a month for every $1,000.00 financed. Dealers set actual vehicle sales prices. See participating dealers for details. For well qualified buyers. Not all buyers may qualify. Higher rates apply for buyers with lower credit ratings.

Offer valid 1/6/2009 through 2/2/2009, on new and unregistered 2009 RDX Models and only on approved credit by Honda Financial Services through participating dealers. Honda Financial Services' standard credit criteria apply. Example for 2009 RDX: 0.90% for 36 months financing at $28.16 a month for every $1,000.00 financed. See dealer for details. Dealers set actual prices. Limited time only.

I have a credit score of 786 which would make me a well qualified buyer, so I’m not understanding why I would not be able to get the special financing?

Can anyone explain to me why one would have to pay MORE for a car to get special financing? Or how when the website clearly lists the financing valid until Feb 2 that a dealer could say it ended on Monday?

Car Buying

Why does buying a car (which should be exciting and fun) turn into something almost as unpleasant as a root canal?

I realize car dealerships need to make money, but at the same time I also think they shouldn't constantly try to rip people off while doing it. No other purchase is so frustrating. For example: let's say I want a pair of jeans and I do a little research on the Bloomingdale's website before I go to the store to see what styles they have etc. When I get to the store they may or may not have the same pairs in stock, but they aren't suddenly $200 more than the website had them for - it's the same freaking price!

But with car buying apparently even if you've agreed to a price via email - you get into the store and it's like ohhhh yeaaaah well that wasn't REALLY the real price. Then what the fuck was it? Don't waste 3+ hours of my time!

I made it CLEAR with the email I sent to several dealers which is as follows:

I intend to purchase, as soon as possible, a Nissan Murano SL in Platinum Graphite Metallic. I am soliciting multiple Nissan dealers for the best offer, but I will immediately agree to purchase under the terms described below. If you cannot meet these terms, please send your best offer, as I will consider all offers if no dealer can meet the following proposal:

Car: Nissan Murano SL with AWD
Options: Premium Package, Technology Package, Navigation / ipod hookup, Moonroof, Leather Package
Color: Platinum Graphite Metallic (or Brilliant Silver Metallic if platinum graphite metallic is unavailable) with Black Leather interior
Price: $30,000
Financing: 60 months at 2.9 percent (your website isn’t updated with the new financing rates)

I would prefer a response by email, but I can also be reached by phone at xxxxxxxxxx. I would like to finalize all paperwork by email/fax (subject, of course, to final inspection of the vehicle at delivery).

Thank you,

I think that is pretty clear. I am not messing around. I already test drove the car, I have already looked at all the options and features. I am ready to buy. They don't have to do anything but agree to those terms (or make another offer) and I would agree, sign papers and come in and pick the vehicle up.

Sure I realize I am asking for less than invoice - I am looking for a deal in this bad economy. Car sales were down 46% in December - so I hope to take advantage of that.

I also know my boyfriend's brother has bought his last 3 cars completely via email/fax - so it CAN be done!

But instead here's a sampling of the responses I get (I'm also considering the RDX):

I wanted to see if you were available this weekend to come in for a test drive? I also have a couple of interesteding pre-owned and Acura Certified RDX's available now! Let me know if you are still considering.


First: I am not interested in a test drive. I've driven it. I'm all set.

Second: no mention of price. Seriously I am not fucking around. I am not coming in there and arguing over price for 3 hours while they trap you in the store. AND BTW - the fastest way to get me to NOT do something is to piss me off about it - like bait and switch me and get me in there only to raise the price by 6k from what I offer and LIE to me that - that is "invoice" I KNOW it's not. I have extensive information from Edmunds,, Consumer Reports, and Car and Driver. I am really not that stupid to show up without my research!

Third: I am not interested in a PRE owned vehicle- did I say that I was?

Fourth: if you want my business learn how to use the spell check before sending that email.

Here's another gem:

Thanks for giving us an opportunity to serve you! However, we have not been able to reach you. Could you please contact us, at your earliest convenience, so we can better assist you.

These people did not call me so I don't know how they "tried to reach me" but I am not calling back and wasting time on the phone while they try to convince me to come in. This is the offer take it or leave it, but don't waste my time (or yours)!!

And yet another:

Thank you for your inquiry in the 2009 Nissan Murano. I have great availability on what you are looking for at competitive prices and a range of colors and trims for your convenience. I would like to provide more information on our inventory along with current prices, any incentives, and then schedule an inventory showing and discuss the final detail as soon as you get the chance. Please call me at your earliest convenience so that I may better assist you.

I'm not sure I could have made it any clearer. I am not looking for vague answers. And I am not wasting one more minute going down to dealers so they can lie to me about the invoice price.

And lastly here may be my favorite back and forth with IRA Nissan:

Your offer is not unrealistic, however we need to see your trade in person before we can provide a definate answer

What time today can you come in so we can see your Solara in person and give you an exact value?

I then wrote back and said I want to be clear on the price and other details because I am serious about the price I want to pay, and I don't want to waste your time or my time.

The response:

We have a large selection of Muranos available and a number of which meet your criteria
I entered all the information you and I discussed into our system. Your VIP number is below. When you arrive, ask the receptionist directly for a sales manager and give him this number.

I wrote back a 3rd time to clarify EXACTLY what I wanted and for the price of $30,000. I also told them I had a trade in.

The reponse:

It is not unreasonable, however you would have to meet with my sales manager
What time today should we expect you?

I finally go in- thinking this seems good. Mistake.

They tried to sell me the car for $34,000 WITH my trade in!! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!! The INVOICE is less than that AND I know the kelley blue book rating for my car is $5500. They "claimed" they were taking $2k off the cost of the car and give me $4k for my car. They must have thought I was an idiot. I refused. Showed them our emails because they were trying to deny I made that clear up front. Oh I made it clear. Once I showed proof of the email they said "perhaps you can't afford this car and should buy an altima. REALLY? I came in for a murano and you are now trying to sell me an altima. Way to make sure I NEVER do business with you. I don't know if these techiques work on other people, but they don't work on me!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Car Titles

I have not owned many cars in my life - 2 to be exact. Each one I owned for 6-7 years. So I'm not that familiar with titles and all that crap.

My first car - I took out a loan, paid it and got my title when it was paid from Toyota Financial Services. My second car I took out a loan and also paid it back in September of '06. I got a letter from Toyota saying 'Congratulations! Your account is now paid in full'. Great.. only thing is - they never sent me the title!

I have called them several times over the past 2.5 years and they say oh yes we'll send that out right away and continue not to. I am currently on hold with them (for about 15 minutes and counting) trying to once again get them to send me the title.

Anyone ever had this happen to them? I heard I can go to the registry and get a duplicate made for $150 but I refuse to pay for something my financing company should have sent me for free 2 years ago and that I've repeatedly called them and asked for (out of principle)!!! Why can NOTHING ever be done right? Why can nothing ever be easy? It apparently takes 60-90 days to mail the damn thing out too - which doesn't much help me if I'm trying to buy a car this week.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Car?

I'm debating taking advantage of the down economy to buy a new car.

It makes me a little nervous to buy a new car because I have no idea what will happen in this insane economy, but I am so sick of my car. Why? The doors are so god damned heavy and they bounce back closed every time I open them on my ankles! I have to kick out my leg to keep the friggin thing open. it SUCKS! I seriously cannot stress enough how much I HATE the door on my car. The handles also are not right for the door (the fixed that the later models) - they are too small/slippery and I jam my fingers all the time. I've had the car 6 years (a solara) since it was new and I'm just done with that door. I like Toyotas - that's all I've ever owned and they are reliable and overall great cars, but I am ready for a change. And a door that doesn't attack me when I try to get out of the car.

I've been debating several cars and I'm having trouble narrowing down a decision:

Toyota Rav 4 - which has mostly been ruled out (I hate the back tire, and the sport version with no tire makes me nervous with the run flat tires.

Honda CRV - not bad, and can take turns WAY better than my solara...

Nissan Murano - pretty fun to drive and had everything.. but that comes with a hefty price tag too.. I don't think I can realistically afford this car.

Acura RDX - my boyfriend suggested I try this car and I have to admit I liked it a lot. So much I think I may get it... BUT then while looking at/test driving the RDX I wanted to take the TSX out for a spin (I've always really liked them) and it comes in a 6 speed manual transmission. WOW was it fun to drive!!! Now that has me all screwed up. Do I get the TSX or the RDX? I had wanted a change from a car - to be higher up and have all wheel drive, but I do really love to drive standards. I cannot decide. I read all the consumer reports and Car and Driver reviews (mixed, but overall people like the TSX more) and I still can't make a decision.

Course the decision may end up being made for me - I need to get a significant discount to afford the cars - which may or may not happen. I am hoping that the dealers are hurting for business and willing to take my offer. If not, I may not be getting anything - or having to set my expectations much lower.

So my question is: anyone drive one of these cars? Do you love it? Hate it? Have any good tips about any of the models?

tough season

to be a Pats fan. :(

We go 11-5 yet may still not make the playoffs. The way the Jets and Jacksonville are playing looks like our season does not have much hope of continuing. How many more plays can the Jets blow in this game? UGH a very hard season to be a pats fan.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Classic Holiday Movies

I'm one of those people that every holiday season takes out all my favorite xmas movies and watches them. I love this. It gets me in the holiday spirit and who doesn't love to watch one of their favorite movies again?

My list of favorites include:
Frosty the Snowman
The Year Without a Santa Claus
Bishop's Wife (the original with Cary Grant, not the remake with Whitney)
Miracle on 34th Street
It's a Wonderful Life
Love Actually *
A Christmas Story
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Muppet Christmas
Charlie Brown Christmas
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Christmas Vacation

* one of the best movies ever - this is a MUST watch every year!

I don't watch all of them every year, but definitely many of them. However, my boyfriend seems to think "we've already seen this, why would you watch it again" and basically makes fun of the movie the entire way through so as not to allow me to enjoy it either. He thinks it's hilarious to get me annoyed throughout the film. But seriously who watches a movie they like once? He doesn't do that either!! He's seen Napolean Dynamite 20 times at least! And how can one really hate all Christmas movies? The only one I can get him to watch without complaint is A Christmas Story (it has a bb gun, shooting your eye out, fights, a horrible cheap lamp women hate and men love... you know all the stuff guys like). I just want one holiday movie without 'hilarious' commentary...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Top 10 Albums of 2008

It's all subjective... but here's my list:

1: Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
2: Ben Folds - Way to Normal
3: The Verve - Fourth
4: Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
5: Elvis Costello - Momofuku
6: My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
7: Bob Mould - District Line
8: BellX1 - Flock
9: Aimee Mann - @#25&! Smilers
10: Bon Iver - For Emmma, Forever Ago

Other good albums that don't quite make my top ten, but are worth mentioning:
Adele - 19
Beck - Modern Guilt
Coldplay - Viva la Vida
Dandy Warhols - Earth to the Dandy Warhols
Duffy - Rockferry
Ingrid Michaelson - Be OK
Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul
Sia - Some People Have Real Problems
Weezer - The Red Album

Fun was never a requirement

Once in a life before Mzinga I heard those exact words in a meeting when I asked why the user interface and experience of an application was so boring and uninspired. I was told this is a real business application – fun was never a requirement.

Then I wondered – why did people feel fun and work had to be mutually exclusive? They don't have to be! Having some fun at work doesn't make people less productive; in fact, I would argue it does just the opposite. To me great user experiences are: Fun, Simple, Easy and Relevant.

Several years ago I designed the UI to a web application – I had used color (not like a circus, but I had a liberal use of color) and icons to give visual cues to the user what was going on. I thought it looked pretty slick (design is always subjective though) and had a rich enough feature set that the geeks were happy too. To me, it was kind of like a pair of Cole Haan heels with Nike Air – sure it's a slick and stylish patent leather heel, but it functions well too.

I showed some folks the mockups I had made in addition to the detailed functional specification I wrote to back up the pretty face. Many thought it was great and ready to move forward, but then there were others that were hesitant. They said it had too much color and too many icons. That it looked great for a consumer product, but for a business product... well to be taken seriously there I was told, I needed to have an all gray color scheme and text only menus. No one would take an application seriously with a menu of icons. No business would buy that kind of application. I said but it has all the functionality one would want, why wouldn't they buy it?! I can understand that argument if it looked really slick, but then didn't have any decent functionality – but that wasn't the case here at all – it was packed with great functionality. Wasn't it an added bonus that it looked nice too? It didn't matter. Nor did it matter that it was PEOPLE not businesses that used this software, and at the end of the day all people are consumers. I lost the argument and we ended up with a colorless, boring UI with text only menus. *sigh*

When was it decided business applications had to suck to be taken seriously? Can't something look fantastic AND function? Anyone who still believes it can't hasn't walked into an apple store lately. They are proving users can really have their cake and eat it too. And with social media tools proliferating into businesses it's happening to web applications too – people want tools that are easy and fun to use, can be configured to how they work, have slick user interfaces, and function well. And contrary to some folk's beliefs – you can really have that!

Where does the time go

I have been seriously slacking the last few months with my blog! Life has been so hectic and busy that I just have not had any time. I am REALLY looking forward to that 2 week vacation... starting this Friday! :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

People Fall for This?

Who actually falls for this email and opens the attachments?

Subject of email: Your Tracking # 235478914988
From: United Postal Service

UM ok if you really are going to try to get me to think I shipped something via the USPS perhaps you want to call the postal service by it's real name the *United States* Postal Service. Just Sayin'

Oh and BTW - I buy enough crap online that I know the USPS has never contacted me via email (except to confirm an address change I did online once). But even if I hadn't this email is so fake it's ridiculous!

Body of email:
Sorry, we were not able to deliver postal package you sent on November the 1st in time because the recipient s address is not correct.

Please print out the invoice copy attached and collect the package at our office.
If you do not receive package in ten days you will have to pay 36$ per day.

Your UPS

I'm not sure what is worse: the grammar or the content itself. If I don't 'receive' it they will charge $36? UM well since they are the 'postal service' it's kind of their job that I receive it (or rather the person I 'sent' it to does), perhaps if you don't 'pick up your package' or 'put the correct address on it' would have been slightly better. and really who's seen the post office sign anything 'yours UPS' oh and btw that acronym stands for 'united parcel service' and if they are trying to fake UPS, their tracking numbers always have a Z in them. But I'm back to - if you knew I send a package wouldn't you know my phone number or name?

What I don't understand is - who falls for this bullshit? Is there really a person who says oh my - I need to get that package back right away. I don't remember shipping anything, but I must have! and opens the attachments? Really???

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Right Turn Grinches

What do I mean by right turn grinches? I'm sure you've been there before.

Picture this: you are driving along and you are approaching a red light. Well that's ok you think, I can turn right on red and there's no one coming. Ah but wait my friend, the right turn grinch in front of you who is going straight and has their own lane has decided that they are going to block you from taking the right. There's is no way on earth they are going to let you get in front of them, even though you are aren't even going in the same direction.

So now instead of turning right and going on your merry way. you have to sit. and wait. and wait. because some jerk can't stay in their lane and insists on hogging two lanes - the right turn and the straight one. WHY WHY WHY do people do this? This happens to me almost daily.

Now I can see in traffic - the lanes fill up and cars going straight end up blocking the right turn lane. That makes sense, but it's the other time when there are only 1 or 2 cars in front of you and someone insists on doing this.

Perhaps they are clueless and don't realize it? But honestly if you are this out of it and have no idea what lane you are in or if you are turning or not you shouldn't be behind the wheel of a CAR!