Yeah, I'm still kicking. Just been busy over the last couple weeks. Actually earning my paycheck during the day and spending time with the family (and my pillow) at home.
What's new with me? Well, my daughter and I walked in on a holdup, and my poor 8 months pregnant wife was already in the store. Nobody needs that shit. My daughter and I walked into the store just as this asshole pulled his gun out on the cashier—chaos ensues. Fortunately, we were able to back out the door moments later and escape to the parking lot, where my daughter was treated to the sight of the police also brandishing their weapons. Meanwhile (and unbeknownst to me at the time) Mrs. Furious was able to escape out the back of the store with a few other customers through the stock rooom, and she then had a panic-fueled run around the back of the plaza to try and catch us at the video store before we went to the supermarket to meet her. Of course had already left and were now huddling between cars in the parking lot (my wife had the keys). For a brief moment we each imagined the other trapped in the store with the gunman, when in fact we had all escaped. A passerby alerted my wife that we might be in the parking lot and we were reunited moments later. Since our car was directly in front of the store in the "expectant mom" spot, we were relegated to the coffee shop around the corner until the episode was over—all the while imagining "The Nine"-style standoffs, and hostage situations. In reality, the robber fled on foot (probably seconds behind me as I left the store), and was not apprehended.
Nightmare. My wife (and the baby) have had about as stressful a pregnancy as can be endured. A car accident, our daughter having two ambulance trips to the hospital, and now fucking shopping at the OK Corral. Sweet fucking Jesus.
On a much more positive note, we are currently mulling two major purchases. A serious digital SLR camera to replace our old POS* Olympus before the new baby arrives, it's down to the Nikon D200 or D80, and Canon D30 or Rebel XTi. I foolishly bought a Nikon 35mm SLR when Ruby was born, and now I have a drawer full of film yet to be developed... Time to take the plunge.
And it is finally time—I am retiring the Furymobile. I am looking used, a few years old, and maxing out the safety (about to double down on the Babies on Board). Unfortunately, I'm a Euro-snob, and/or have no interest in any of the current entry level new cars. And contrary to the advice I gave John Cole, I am at this point leaning European.
Current front-runners are 2001-'02-era Volvo S60 and V70, and VW Passats and slightly older Subaru Outbacks. I'm also a fan of the Pontiac Vibe and Mazda3 and Mazda6, but almost none of them have the optional side airbags...Why that shit isn't standard equipment is beyond me. If you're going to engineer that into a car, just make it standard. Inexcuseable. The American manufacturers are finally learning that lesson, but the only American sedans I like enough to buy (Ford Fusion, Saturn Aura and Pontiac G6) and have the full array of airbags but new (and used) are still out of my price range.
At this point anything will be an improvement over my current car—leaking moonroof, cracked windshield, crank windows, broken washer, a terminal condition regarding the radiator, a clutch about five feet deep... I refuse to put a dime into this thing—I won't even fill the tank for fear of it dying and me losing out on the gas.
So until I make those purchases, much of my time online will be spent on endless classified searches and trips to ConsumerReports.org.
NOTE: Anyone with pertinent opinion, info or expertise on these topics, I welcome the input. Also, anybody sprung for a CARFAX report before? Worth it?
*That's the technical term for obsolete.