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Random Hoo-Ha

I couldn’t think of an appropriately witty title for this entry, nor could I decide on a particular subject — so what you get is, indeed, a bunch of random hoo-ha.

Hard to believe that yet another weekend is already two-thirds gone. Normally that would be a bad thing, but right now it just signifies the march of time bringing us ever closer to our return trip — an event for which Apple and I are both very anxious. This week we’re going to start packing, just to make sure everything we want to take with us actually fits in our luggage. I’m going to leave almost all of my clothes here, I think, and get some new ones when I get home. I need more stuff that fits; almost everything I brought is so big on me now that it makes me look like a partially-deflated balloon.

Yesterday was a good day. Apple and I both went to the family dentist for check-ups. It was a walk in the park — I was in there for about 10 minutes, and that was that. Sure, my mouth was a bit sore for the rest of the day, but that’s all. I think the visit cost about 10 bucks. Why can’t dental care in the U.S. be like this?

I had another one of those relaxing and energizing Thai massages in the afternoon, then we went to “Taste At” for dinner. Yeah, that’s actually the name of the restaurant. It’s a cozy little steakhouse that serves up the best Italian cuisine that we’ve had in Thailand. They have great lasagna, but the problem is they rarely have any available. Such was the case last night, so I ordered a steak. Imported New Zealand sirloin in mushroom sauce. It was pretty good, but honestly not as good as Sizzler (another western restaurant, which has a higher quality presentation in Asia than it does in the U.S.). Taste At’s spaghetti is much more highly recommended. We also had excellent tomato soup and a salad with grilled herb sea bass. Tasty.

After dinner, we tried to watch the ever-popular film Slumdog Millionaire last night, but I gotta be honest with you…I just wasn’t feeling it. Apparently Apple wasn’t either, because about halfway through she said, “Okay…I think I’m done with this movie.” So was I. Not sure what happened; I mean, it didn’t seem like a bad film, but we just weren’t in the mood I guess.

So today we had a light lunch at Hachiban Ramen, then went over to what Apple calls the “healthy market” to stock up on some natural juices, supplements and remedies. Now it looks like we’ll (thankfully) be relaxing for the rest of the evening. I have some new ideas for my story kicking around in my head — I already have most of the remainder of the tale planned out in notes on my iPhone, which I jotted down during the last long car trip we took — and I want to put them to paper. Well, virtual paper, you understand. Part of the hurry is that my friend Pooch is really wanting to see what I’ve written so far, but I keep putting off sending him an update, because every time I think about what I want to write next, I’m afraid I might have to change parts of the last scene to make them “gel” together. It’s a challenge. But this is one of the most personally fulfilling stories I’ve written since…I dunno, 2001?

Last night I had a horrible dream that I wouldn’t wish on anybody. At least, anybody who is a car fanatic. In the dream, Apple and I were driving up north in my GTO for my friend Reaper and his wife’s wedding. Now, this is an actual road trip that we took back in 2007. But in my dream last night, the wedding reception was being held at a strip mall in backwoods Ohio somewhere. Yeeeeeeeah. Such a setting is totally unlike either of those two in real life, so I don’t know.

So we’re at the reception, and it’s actually nicer inside than one would expect from looking at this dumpy strip mall. At some point I go out to the car for something. Now I’d parked far away from the actual storefronts, as usual, because I didn’t want anybody dinging my doors. As I approach my car, some hillbilly guy runs up to me and starts babbling about how some nutters vandalized my car and how he saw the whole thing. Sure enough, the car is a mess — the door handles have been torn off, the taillights are smashed, and worst of all, somebody’s kicked out both of my SAP grilles, which are no longer being produced and are thus irreplaceable. I immediately descend into a shouting, cursing firestorm.

Eventually I realize that the damage isn’t that bad — none of the body panels or glass look damaged — so I grudgingly decide to just call up the insurance company and get it over with. Strangely, the idiot who told me he “saw the whole thing” now can’t remember what any of the perps looked like. Fat load of help he is. Maybe he’s the perp, I remember thinking.

I go back into the reception, find Apple and tell her that we should probably get going. We say our goodbyes and take off, and by the time we get back to my car, it’s sitting sideways across three parking spaces. What in tunket?

Mister Hillbilly comes running back, telling me how a big truck just came flying out of nowhere and smashed into my car. I can see with my own eyes that the whole driver’s side is punched in right between the door and the rear quarter, and all of the windows have exploded into fragments. The chassis has been bent enough that the floor of the passenger compartment is all distorted.

I start shouting at the hillbilly some random stuff about “Do you know how much it’s going to cost to fix this shit? How rare these parts are? This car was built in fucking AUSTRALIA!” Eventually I settle into a sort of stupor, just hoping that the car will be totaled so at least I can get a new Camaro or something out of the deal.

The hillbilly actually gives me a description of the truck this time — it was some kind of lawn care tanker, like one of those Chemlawn trucks — but he didn’t get any kind of license number, so fat lot of good his info’s gonna do me, again. Now I start wondering how we’re going to get home, since we’re in Ohio and all.

And then I woke up. Good thing.

If I were back in Florida, right about now is when I would go to the garage and look at the GTO, to make sure that yeah, it really is still in one piece. Unfortunately, I can’t do that, because I’m not there. I’m sure it’s fine, though.

Speaking of cars, how many of you remember the “Hi” ads for the Dodge Neon when it first launched back in…what was it, anyway, 1994? The ads featured a close-up, head-on shot of the arguably cute-faced Neon, with the word “Hi.” printed above it in big letters. The Neon was the world’s happiest car.

Well, I’m here to report to you today that the Neon has lost that title. The 2010 Mazda3 is now officially the world’s happiest car, thanks to the enormous, grinning mouth of a grille that Mazda has given it. If you were to do a “Hi” ad with the new 3, this is probably what it would look like:

Happiest. Car. Ever.
Happiest. Car. Ever.

(Emphasis added in Photoshop. The car doesn’t really have cartoon floaty eyebrows. But it sure looks like it needs some.)

That car has simply got to be on some kind of happy pills. Did the designer really love that Disney/Pixar film “Cars”? It looks like it’s Lightning McQueen on crack.

And for the record, what the hell is it with cars with these gigantic, hideous, freakazoid rictus mouth-grilles? I remember back when the fourth-gen Camaro got its 1998 facelift and we all lamented its mouth-like front fascia. And then Chrysler put that manhole cover of a grille on its LHS; remember that thing? Now we have Audi, whose entire corporate style is the manhole cover grille, and Mazda’s getting into the act big-time with the new 3.

I think it sucks. Especially because the Mazda3 was my favorite compact car since the moment it launched, especially the incredibly hot Mazdaspeed variant. Mazda design in general has really struck the right chords with me over the last few years, after an exceedingly banal existence through much of the ’80s and ’90s (save the RX-7). I have to say that the new Mazda6 looks pretty good, although it’s a little too much “glitz and glamor” and not enough “sport” for my tastes, but the new 3 is just awful. Why did they do that?

Anyway, enough car talk. Tomorrow I’m going to have to jump feet-first back into another week of work, and if it’s anything like the last three (or four? I’ve lost count, now), it’s going to be a doozy. Every day last week, I got up and started working, and didn’t stop until essentially bedtime. I’ve racked up a fair number of extra hours over the last 10-14 days. Once again, though, the best part about all of this is that it’s helping time go by extremely fast, which is a blessing right now. We’ll be back home before we know it, at this rate.

I think that’s enough randomness for now.

2 thoughts to “Random Hoo-Ha”

  1. Rest assured , as of 10 minutes ago, your car was in its’ usual pristine condition, all safe and sound in your garage. That sounds like a doozy of a nightmare, however.

    You know, I was really not all that enthusiastic about Slumdog Millionaire – especially the first half. I think all the slum scenes and horrible conditions just bothered me. It got better, and I was grateful for the happy ending. But, (as Randy Jackson is fond of saying to American Idol contestants), “for me, dawg” (pun intended) “I just wasn’t feelin’ it.” The best part for me was the Bollywood musical number during the credits!

    Thanks for calling this morning. It was good talking to you 🙂

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