Friday, June 29, 2007

Back to the Bank

A couple months ago, the old Post Office building downtown was transformed into the Gotham National Bank temporarily for the new Batman movie. The filming stopped there due to some unfortunate circumstances: they set the Post Office on fire. This was unintentional, but I'm sure they were shooting the six fire trucks and the whole cacophany surrounding it and will try to find a way to work it into the movie. But that meant that they couldn't shoot there for a while.

Well, they're back, and I got a picture. Since it's my phone, and it's grey on grey, and it was kind of a cloudy day, you need to pop the picture a little bigger to really see the signage, but I can also give you a bit of a closeup.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

John's Advice: Never Get a VW Beetle (an unfortunately ongoing series)

A few months ago, I had a really bad oil leak, and went to Midas to see what was up. It was simply a poorly placed oil plug from Jiffy Lube. There was something else in there too, but I forget what it was. No matter, the point for this story is that Something Went Wrong. While Midas was working on it, they turned on the check engine light. During their digging around in the engine, the throttle sensor went all wonky. Of course, the Midas line was that this sort of thing happens all the time for no reason, but they'd be glad to give us a deal on labor and could get the part for $750. It was obvious to me that they had hosed something, and that they weren't going to do a damn thing about it. They also didn't fix the oil leak. Schmucks.

The car ran a little rough, but still ran. We went down to Chattanooga in it, and haven't had a bit of trouble with it, except that at low speeds it couldn't figure out what gear it should be in. And so we didn't spend any more money on it. Until the emissions test notice came.

Heres the thing. If the check engine light is on for any reason, you automatically fail the emissions test, and 2 1/2 months later, lose your driving privileges. So, obviously, it was time to get the thing fixed. We took it in to a great local shop, run by someone Heidi's mom helped in her job (she's a nurse in a NICU... that's about as much as I choose to say). We got a wonderful deal on labor, and the part costs significantly less than Midas said it was. We brought it in on Saturday, they needed to get the part, and told us to bring it back on Tuesday. This was Tuesday of LAST week. It wan't the throttle control, as it happens. The computer was buggy, so they had to get a new computer. However, VW, being the master engineers that they are, needed the shop to bring the car in once it was installed to program the computer. The VW people have been giving the shop a runaround for the past three days, and it looks like it's not getting fixed anytime soon. It also looks like it's more than one problem.

So yeah, wah, cars have their issues. That's not the main complaint. Even the Midas thing isn't the main complaint (although this and previous history makes me never want to trust them again). Here's my big beef: VW is riding on their 35-year-old reputation, while cranking out horrid crap that costs an obscene amount to fix. When you bring it in to a dealership to fix, they charge an arm and a leg (I don't think I ever mentioned the $400 headlight a year ago) and drag their feet on getting the damn thing fixed. Hm, substandard customer service, substandard parts, substandard construction. Woohoo! VW is da bomb (which I hope isn't literal... I'm hearing reports of these things catching fire).

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Two great tastes that taste great together

I can't say these are two of my favorite things put together, but these are two things that mesh really well together, and it makes for some incredibly entertaining watching. I haven't laughed this hard since Borat.

I tried to embed the video in here, but it's not working. Bugger.