Dear Minneapolis Tumblrers,
I am in town until this coming Wednesday, looking for apts/jobs.
Let’s hang out.
I'm the book that beat the speed-reader, and I'm the card the dealers won't touch. And it's just not true I'm a man-eater; all the same, we should probably go dutch.
The things you pick up as you go.
So you need to buy a new (to you) car. Yikes. Something happened— your old car got totaled, or would have cost too much to repair what it needed, or maybe you’ve never owned a car before— and now you find yourself wondering what the hell you should be looking for. The thought of it alone can be enough to make some young women want to run off screaming for a new bicycle and better public transportation systems. But for those of us with daily commutes by car who DON’T live in major metropolitan areas, you’re still going to need that car, so you might as well learn a few important things about them before you go off looking. Dealers aren’t that used to young women walking onto a sales lot alone. Greasy salesmen will think you’re an easy target to pull a fast one over, so if you can show them you know just enough to be dangerous, their respect for you will sky-rocket, and they’ll show you better cars. Also, slightly unfairly, if a car dealer thinks you’re an attractive young woman out looking for a car on her own, you’ll get a better deal than if you bring your father or boyfriend with you. It’s something psychological— a dealer isn’t going to feel the same amount of compassion towards a 24 year old guy as they will for a 24 year old woman. Look for the right things, stand firm on your price, and get ready for them to want to eat right out of your hand.
Firstly, decide what it is that you NEED. I may WANT a mid-’60s hard-top Mustang, but they just don’t make sense for the kind of winter driving that I do for about half of the year. The big things to think about are size, mileage, efficiency, repair costs, and use. Smaller cars are easier to park and drive; a lot have great cargo space, too, especially in wagon or hatchback body styles. With today’s more reliably manufactured cars lasting over 200,000 miles, anything below 150,000 is a good deal if you’re looking for a commuter that you have no plans for driving far distances on a regular basis and only having for a few years. If you ARE looking for something to make long commutes or have for a longer period of time, look for something under 100,000; you’ll pay more for it, but you’ll be using it more often, too. Individual car’s gas mileage will be important for you in that case, too— anything over 24 miles/gallon on the highway is generally good, especially if it can use 87 octane, which is the cheapest gas to buy. Gas is where you’ll be spending most of your money on your car, but in the case of needing to do maintenance or repairs to it, some cars are notoriously more expensive to fix than others, and harder to find parts for, so you may want to steer clear of Saabs, Volvos, Audis, and other European luxury cars, even if you crave the name-brand appeal and think one used is a good deal. My Saab, though a little tank and fun to drive, was always a Saab story when I had to bring it to the mechanic’s. My Honda, on the other hand, while not so comfortable to drive, never needed repair work and was ridiculously cheap to maintain. I could car-camp in both of them, which was my major requirement; decide what your biggest need out of a car is, do some research on likely models, and go from there.
When you’re going to car lots to check out potential candidates, wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. You may want to dress up to be taken seriously or heels to help with your flirt-game, but you’ll need to be comfortable and not mind getting a little dusty and oily. Lower yourself down onto the ground head-first to peer under the car at the undercarriage. What’s the tailpipe and exhaust system look like? How much rust do you see? What’s it look like— spotting, or chunky flakes like car dandruff? Check around the wheel-wells to see if the body has started rusting away from there (where the arrows are pointing at is where you want to be looking at); it’s generally a good indicator that the rest of the body won’t be so sound.
Is anything being held together by duct tape or wire? Check for hanging things, or anything that looks particularly new, old, or out-of-place. These hints will give you ideas about what may be broken, perennially in need or fixing, or was recently replaced.
Now, get inside the cabin and press every. single. button in the car. EVERY SINGLE ONE. If a power-lock doesn’t work, you’ll want to know about it. If the sunroof won’t open, that’s a bargaining point to get them to drop their price. If you live somewhere hot, buying a car whose air conditioner sucks is going to be a nasty surprise if you didn’t check it first. When you test-drive it, try the cruise control setting. Splash some windshield-washer fluid and check the wipers. Test the headlights and high beams. Find out what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t.
Pop the hood, and check the oil on the orange oil dipstick. Is it relatively the same color as a good cup of black coffee? Is it relatively fluid, and drips easily? Make sure that it’s not gummy, and is still sheer, like you could see through it.
Unscrew the oil cap, and look at the underside of it. Is there fuzzy oil-sludge build-up on it? If there is, it could be what the inside of the engine looks like. Yikes. No bueno.
Don’t mind the rest of the engine if you know nothing about them— just take the car to your mechanic beforehand if you’re thinking about putting a deposit on it and let them do their job and look it over for you. Ask them if they would want their girlfriend or daughter to own this car. You should get an honest answer. (Bring them a 6-pack of beer in thanks. A lot of mechanics don’t charge for quick pre-purchase inspections, so it will be appreciated.)
Keep a list of all the damaged/unsightly aspects of the car. Things like rusted rotors that will need replacing soon, cracked side mirrors, interior parts that have broken off, dents, dings, broken lights, rips in the interior fabric, and major scratches. These are your bargaining points. The price that is on a car is NEVER the actual price of the car. Experience in haggling at flea markets or bluffing in betting will help your end-game tremendously.
In the end, you’ll know you’re looking at a good car that could be the one for you when it’s in your price-range comfort-zone, sound of body and engine, has only cosmetic issues or relatively little to fix, and you just LIKE it and feel comfortable driving it. Trust your gut a lot of the time with cars; even if you don’t know much about how they work or how to fix them, you’ll know when you’ve found what could be the right one for you. And how sweet it is to know that you did most of the work in finding it on your own.
Help, do you have any advice for writing argumentative papers for college that you have 0 motivation to do and know nothing about the topic? And thinking about it makes you depressed? You're like the smart, wonderful big sister when it comes to paper writing and creativity.littlemachinequeen
Ugh, this feeling.
I had something like this happen to me the other night; obviously, it wasn’t for a college paper anymore, but I had a business proposal to write for a potential client, and I just did. not. want. to. do. it. I was tired; I had worked all day; I had gotten shitty news that afternoon; I was sick. I was in NO MOOD or mindset to do the damn thing, but I had to. Because being a grown-up sucks sometimes. (A lot of the time.)
Whenever I hit a writing roadblock, I usually start by doing my research on the topic. This is the easy part, because generally, with internet access and a library, you can get shit done without having to do any of the writing, so it’s kind of like fruitful procrastination. Start easy; start on Wikipedia, and go from there. Skim reference books on the topic; read articles from field journals. Feed your brain a little bit, and enough to get some handle on where you want to base your argument from. It doesn’t have to be a stellar, mind-blowing, thesis-winning argument (unless it happens to be your thesis); it just has to get the job DONE and meet your professor’s requirements.
QUICK STORY-TIME ABOUT THIS FACT: During college, I noticed a lot of my friends absolutely killing themselves and wasting a lot of time over their assignments and routine essays. They treated their final papers for classes as if they had to be worthy of publication in The Atlantic and help discover a cure for cancer. Newsflash— they do not. The objective of essays like these are to just show your professor that you have a grip on the information and can make an informed, intelligent argument that makes sense and accomplishes a goal. Really, that’s it. It doesn’t need to be your best work. It’s not worth not being able to go out and do the things that you really WANT and NEED to be doing in order to slave over that essay for an A+. A B is fucking fine. No one in your future career is really going to care or even know that you half-assed a stupid paper on symbolism in Italian Renaissance art so that you could go get drinks with friends on a roof-top beer garden on a lovely, hot spring afternoon, instead. And if they DO, tell them the reasons why getting drinks was a more personally enlightening experience that taught you more about life than writing that stinking paper did. College is not about completing EVERY. SINGLE. ASSIGNMENT. to your absolute best ability and making them time- and energy-consuming chores. It’s about learning in class and growing up and learning who you are as a person OUTSIDE of campus. Believe me. I operated this way all four years of college and was a Dean’s List student for 3 of them. If that doesn’t tell you that you can be a great student without busting your ass for asinine assignments, I don’t know what does.
Now, back to our scheduled programming on how to get this paper finished:
Next, resign yourself to the fact that you need to get that shit DONE. Find a place to park yourself with no distractions— not in your room, not near a TV, not anywhere where you will end up thinking about other things you could possibly do to put this off any longer. Personally, I like to find an uncomfortable chair, because not being comfortable where I am makes me want to actually finish it faster. To isolate myself and focus, I plug my headphones in and find one song on my iPod that I can put on repeat and drown everything else around me out. (Make it something that you know REALLY WELL and like enough but not too much so that you can actually tune it out as just “white noise.”) Give yourself strict instructions about finishing the assignment— i.e, “Even though I’m hungry, I can’t eat until this is finished,” or “I can’t look at that text I just got until I finish this paragraph.” Giving yourself something to work for is a good way to motivate you, even if it is just for a bagel or a text from a friend at that point.
And just WRITE THE DAMN THING. Let your brain take control of the writing; at this point, you should be able to trust that it knows how to formulate an essay and the sort of language and form that it needs to follow. About 75% of my college essays were just trite essay bullshit held together by relevant facts from my research to anchor the rest of it down. A paragraph is, after all, a statement supported by following sentences of facts, analysis, argument, and connections to your thesis. And a thesis is just that main statement that you’ve decided to run with. Tie it all together, sentences to paragraphs, paragraphs to thesis, and BOOM, you’ve got your paper. When you find yourself thinking, “Eh, good enough,” you’ll know that you’re done. Now, go celebrate by doing whatever it is you REALLY want to be doing. And go have a drink on me to celebrate.
Two weeks ago, four days after my 2002 Honda Civic JUST hit the 100,000-mile mark, this happened against a tree stump on a muddy, slushy dirt road one Saturday morning on the way in to the farmer’s market.
I walked away with bumps, bruises, and a nasty jammed left hand. (Still is a pain in the ass. No more twisting open jars with my left hand, which previously was my “jar-opening” hand.) Mistah J, however, didn’t fare quite so well, and was pronounced totaled by the insurance company.
My sweet tiniest vanagon.
HOWEVER, it quite literally ended up being what is referred to as a happy accident,” because in his final act of good-will, Mistah J ended up paying out nearly five grand, giving me enough money to BOTH buy a new(er) used car, and pocket enough to make my move to MPLS imminent.
I move out in early June, in a 2002 Volkswagen Golf named Lagertha who will take over a more authentic “tiniest vanagon” role from her predecessor.
To all you Honda Civic owners out there…I’m still jealous. What a hell of a little car they are.
“And then you did what he asked you to do; you opened your heart up,
Right there on a napkin on the carpet, and part of it was frostbit,
But you’ve always been a smart kid;
Could still distinguish, the blood black as pitch;
Valves had gone stiff, veins and scar tissue.
Four chambers, just a standard issue,
But none had room; forgiveness is huge.
And you had two full of ice water,
One full of salt, one packed with coal,
Eager and ready and willing to find fault.”
Have you noticed how Tumblr now very judgingly goes, “Hey, you forgot your password,” like some snooty kid in your college philosophy class is like, “Hey stoner, you forgot to think.”
…Snide hipster bastard.
I am not watching the footage.
I am not watching the footage because I am not going to give you sick fucks behind it the satisfaction of my horror, fear, and outrage, which I can only guess are the emotions you wanted to pull from millions of us and gorge yourselves on. There will be no notoriety at what you have done for me. I will not be forced to stand witness to your misguided attempt at catch the nation’s eyes and bated breaths. You will never force acknowledgement from me, and so, your plot will have failed. I refuse to give you a moment’s thought out of the day. I refuse to acknowledge who you are, or what you “accomplished.”
Instead, I look toward the families and friends of those effected, and in them, I find the awe and my feeling of helplessness at their strength and power. Whoever you are…You will not be allowed to defeat us with fear.
I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in a magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist.
Jack London was one hell of a man.
I just realized that I am so attached to my icon for this blog is because it looks like I’m rolling my eyes, and I figure that 95% of what I do on here is me electronically rolling my eyes.
It’s time people at work realized, that is the worst job for me because even though I may sound polite and look like I am about to slip into a border-line catatonic coma, it because inside, I get to live out my Inner Truth: 90% of this is ridiculous, alarmist bullshit.
…So, in other news, I guess I’m a pessimist.