AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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you know where you can stick your smoke, buddy?

On Thursday I go wait in line for 45 mins for emissions testing only to get told that they can not test my car because visible smoke is coming from the tailpipe.  So I check and watch car over weekend, see no smoke at all.  I decide guy is either an asshole or an idiot, since after 45 mins idling in 25 degree weather, surely something was visible from my exhaust, you know? I take car to mechanic this morning, tell him the story.  He's dubious, as he says they can only refuse to test if the "service engine" light is on, unless they've changed the law and he didn't hear about it. I leave my car with him, he tests it, he tells me, with the exact same machine they use at the state place and everything falls with in acceptable levels.  Mechanic says the only thing he can do is put a slightly heavier oil in it, which can reduce smoke if it's a problem, which he doesn't think it is. Then he tells me to go the emissions office on Craighead, not Dickerson.  Which I will do tomorrow.  Then go wait forever at the registration office again.
 
So either the guy at the emissions testing place was a total asshole or, well, I don't know what.  This is some yucktastic Mercury Retrograde bullshit, right here.  Now, I will take a deep breath and pretend that I like waiting in lines and driving all over town for no reason. But you know between the temp tag fees, extra emissions test and mechanic, there's $150 that I don't have anymore. Fucking awesome. Not to mention my time spent.

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drive me crazy

I had to do an online defensive driving course last night because of the *#&%*%&%&@!*!@ speeding ticket I got.  It was unbearable.  Not only did I not learn anything I didn't already know, but the set up of the course was in Flash and you couldn't go on to the next page/question/scenario until the "next" button lit up. It took 3 to 5 times as long to light up as it took me to read an absorb each page.  Seriously, I'm a fast reader and I probably lost an hour of my life to waiting for each section to be ready for me to go to the next page.  There's sample of the course here.  Please go share my pain.  Anyway I got 96%, missed only one question and really that was debatable (I chose that a driver should do whatever possible to avoid an accident, the correct answer was that a driver should do whatever is reasonable to avoid an accident, WTF).

My intern at work was asked to decorate for the holidays.  She put up lights and some beautiful, brightly colored, elaborately folder tissue paper flowers her sister mad and little display in the main office with some garlands, candles and Nativity figures.  She finished it all up and turned to me and said, "Just in case that was all too Christian, I've added Ganesh to the Nativity scene."  (My intern is Hindu, and thus it's unclear to me why she was asked to decorate in the first place, but oh how I love her and her sense of humour.)

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baby, you can drive my car

Let's talk about cars. Mostly I don't care about them. All I really want is good gas mileage, compact size and reliability (although the last one seems to be sacrificed when you're as poor as I am). I loved my car, the one that got totaled in June. The replacement is okay. I have given some thought to what I would buy if I could buy a new car and pretty much settled on the new Mazda 3. (Amusingly, when Hols went to buy a new car she asked me if I had any suggestions and I said the Mazda 3 and after all her dad's comparison shopping and strict examination of cars, she ended up with the Mazda 3, thus convincing me I was right about them.) However, the lovely Marcasita has made me aware of the new Mini Cooper Clubman.

Mini's are swell. Cute and all, but really too small. The Clubman however is just enough bigger to be perfect. It gets good gas mileage. It has the awesome 3rd suicide style door my Saturn has, but WAY more space. It comes in

chocolate brown

. I want one so badly I can barely stand it. Seats four! Has cargo space! It's a Mini! WHEEEEE!

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