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! :)