hot wheels

Sorry dudes. I've probably lost whatever readers I used to have, but sometimes you just don't have anything to say for entire months at a time. This past couple weeks it's been because of the ongoing quest for a new car, which I am pleased to say is completed. Whoopee, eh? The good news is that Sascha can no longer look down her nose at my gas mileage; the bad news is that I don't have an excuse not to drive on the Friday lunch hour field trips any more, since I have four doors and four seats now. And if any of y'all want an old ('97) Ford Ranger, $3500 takes it. It even comes with a bike rack and a pre-faded USCF sticker.

I've never gone car shopping before. The Ranger was my college graduation present and my dad did all the shopping, and before that it was when my parents got that teal-colored station wagon. I was in 7th grade and mortified at the notion of replacing our hideous old green station wagon with another hideous green station wagon, but I didn't get to pick. Anyway, I went into this without knowing anything about looking for cars, especially used ones.

Things I learned:

1. You know how people always say to check the title history before agreeing to buy a car? I laughed, thinking whatever, most cars will be perfectly fine, it's just a formality. But Dad was adamant about it, so after I made an appointment to go see some guy's Civic I got myself 30 days of unlimited Carfax reports and ran a check on it. Turns out the thing was totaled in '02 and resurrected with a salvage title, yet the guy was attempting to sell it ABOVE the blue book value. Funny, fella. Nice try but no cigar. The next one I wanted to look at, I decided to run the check before calling about it, since I'd paid for unlimited reports. At the top of the report it said CONGRATULATIONS! THIS CAR QUALIFIES FOR THE CARFAX BUYBACK GUARANTEE! meaning that Carfax thought it was clean enough to certify. Good so far, right? So I scrolled down through the report. No major accidents, no flood damage, etcetera etcetera. I was getting ready to call the guy who had it when I saw, at the very bottom of the page, in teensy-weensy print, reported stolen. Last month. In Texas. Personally, I'd think Carfax would put that at the TOP of the page, and that they wouldn't GUARANTEE it. But what do I know....

2. Man, do cars disappear fast. 95% of the cars I called about had already been sold by the time I called about them, a day or two after they were listed. Except the ones that require questionable advertising such as "THIS CAR WILL KICK WINTER'S ASS!!!!!!" That one is still available. See craigslist for details.

3. Tell people at the office that you just got a new car, and then tell them what it looks like, and the next time you see your shiny new car it will be plastered with bumper stickers reading I MASTURBATE and THIS VEHICLE STOPS AT ALL ADULT BOOKSTORES. (They turned out to be magnets, don't worry.)

4. Eastern Europeans have cornered the market on used cars around here. Every person I talked to had a name ending in -ov or -sky and had a thick accent. When I called about the car I ended up getting, I spoke to a person with no foreign accent.... for about five seconds, just long enough for her to transfer me to a guy named Boris. Yeah, Boris. Boris was actually very nice, a mild-mannered Russian guy with white hair, but man, did I take a lot of shit from my coworkers when I talked to him on my office phone. "Did you just say BORIS? You're talking to a guy named BORIS?" Yeah, Boris the used car salesman. Yuk it up, guys.

And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging, which (yes, Tim) will include the long-awaited experimental dismantling of the Pepsi bike. Oh yeah, and if anybody wants a Carfax check done between now and January 3, hit me. I've got 'em free until then. But I am NOT taking any of you for rides. My coworkers already tried that one.


Blogger Nathan said...

I would like to apologize in advance for this comment.

Hey, could you give me a ride over to the adult bookstore? I just have to get some fresh masturbation material!

Sorry again...

12/07/2005 5:08 PM  
Blogger Sascha said...

I never looked down my nose! I was sympathetic to the gas mileage dilemma you faced. Now you can drive us to those out of town bike rides. Whoopie!

12/07/2005 7:35 PM  
Blogger Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Skinned knuckels. I expect to see skinned knuckles. Tip; make sure the chain is always on the big ring when you are wrenching on anything near the crankset. Less bleeding that way.

Nice wheels. Wanna race for pinks?


12/08/2005 11:34 AM  
Blogger annie said...

Tim, I'm almost afraid to ask, but what am I going to do that will skin my knuckles? I've been having terrifying visions of poking my eye out with a wayward spoke, but I (perhaps naively) thought my knuckles were safe....

If I win this race, I'm not sure what "pinks" are but maybe you can build the Pepsi bike for me instead. Although dang, if you'd told me you wanted to RACE I might have looked at different cars!

12/09/2005 2:01 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Remember that the left pedal is left-hand threaded. Waaaay back in high school a couple of friends of mine didn't know this, thought the pedal was stuck, used big wrench and pipe for leverage trying to get it out before taking it to the bike store. The mechanic did get it out but returned from back room all sweaty and asked what kind of gorilla had put it together.

Other fun things to do: push the chain rivet all the way through, cut the cable an inch too short, assemble the crank arms offset 90 degrees instead of 180, wonder how come you have a bearing left over after repacking bottom bracket. Cross-threading stuff is always fun and rewarding--beware the sharp little arcs of metal that come out! The chain on the big ring is a good idea; the bare ring can make interesting permanent scars if you like that sort of thing.

Don't ask how I know these things.

12/09/2005 3:36 PM  
Blogger annie said...

Dang, Matt, now you're scaring me. But I do know about pedals. In the original post about the Pepsi bike, I listed taking my pedals off as one of the four things I know how to do. It comes of having more bikes than pedals, and also of having to rent a pedalless bike at the velodrome. I even own a pedal wrench! Which is more than can be said about... uh... all the other bike tools. Tee hee.

12/09/2005 3:49 PM  

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