Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New... Electronic Gadgets Galore!

Welcome to 2008, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your holidays. I know I did. Here are some highlights:

-I went to NYC
-I bought a new(ish) car
-I saw lots of family and friends from home

And since this entry is about electronic gadgets, we'll all just figure that my times at home were great, skip the elaboration, and get on to the good stuff. w00t!

In today's news, I ordered a Macbook. It's on its way! I will no longer be jiggling my PC's power cord and seeing blue screens of death!

I also discovered two things today:
Belkin FM transmitters are really terrible, and Verizon customer service is really great. After arriving home today, I was excited that my 3-pack of fm transmitters from had come in the mail for me. Since I no longer had a car with a cassette player (yes, my old car was that old), I needed an upgrade. it was like I had rabbit ears and it was time for HDTV. And there it was, in the form of 3-for-$10 FM technology. Hooray! I could jam out again to Britney Spears and Kanye West in my car! Until I plugged it in, and all I got was static. The best I got was a mix of house music (the radio), static, and Stevie Ray Vaughn (my mp3 player). Bah humbug!

And, in last week's news, I just discovered that stores no longer sell printers with parallel cables. This generally isn't a problem for me as I usually don't buy printers myself (I just fix and install them), and I usually don't have to use Windows 98. My folks, however, aren't so fortunate to have upgraded their computer since they bought it when computers were invented. What can I say, they are creatures of habit. Anyway, their little-engine-that-could printer finally decided it couldn't, and off we were to Office Max. We're about to leave with a very basic, no-frills printer that hopefully my dad can figure out, when the salesman who's been hovering over us says, "That doesn't come with a cord. " No kidding. But then I realize... I doesn't come with a parallel port either. Crap. Then this "salesman" says with this uncanny, sinister smile: "Time to upgrade." Boo. I'll upgrade you with my foot!

On a positive note, though, the people at Verizon were quite nice about refunding me my money for when my text messaging plan mysteriously disappeared after renewing my contract. Apparently features like that don't go along for the renewal party. Who knew? Luckily, though, instead of charging me for my error in not checking my account better, I'm getting all my money back, and with minimal tech-support time.

They did actually send me a big sack of cash, by the way.

And since this entry is devoted to all things shiny, new, metallic, and spectacular, let me just share with you how to buy a car.

Step One: Discover that your old car is starting to need more in repairs than it is worth. It's upgrade time. Not HDTV style.... but new wheels style!

Step Two: Go to Carmax in order to test drive some cars you're interested in. The saleswoman will be very eager to build rapport with you. So eager, in fact, that she will share anything with you. Anything beyond your wildest imagination. She will even tell you, that on cold days, when she's out on the back lot, that instead of trekking back inside to go to the bathroom, she goes in the bushes. And how on a cold day, the steam rises up from the ground.

Step Three: Don't buy a car from this lady (despite how much you really want to give her the commission just for telling that story!).

Step Four: In order to narrow matters down, make a list of things you really want in a car, such as "room enough to do the Crank Dat dance behind the wheel while I'm driving" and "cup holders that light up." I'm for real here.

Step Five: Go back to Carmax to get current transportation appraised and check out a different car. This time with a different salesperson. Scratch your head when you get behind the wheel of the test-drive car and he says to you, "Gee, this isn't such a bad car."

Step Six: Don't buy a car from this man. In fact, don't ever step foot in Carmax again, especially after they try to sell you a car for about $4000 more than its worth, and try to buy your car for $500 less than its worth.

Step Seven: Go to the local Toyota dealership. Offer your car as a trade-in. Wait politely while car salesman "appraises" your car. He will come out and declare, unbeknownst to you, careful and observant vehicle owner for 6.5 years, that your car has dents in it. Even though you go outside and demonstrate to him that they are clearly not dents, he will still insist on insulting your ride, claiming that scratches are "dents."

Step Eight: Don't buy a car from this man. Clearly he has troubles with the word "dents" which lead you to think he might have troubles with other matters such as functioning or existing and is clearly in no position to complete a sale.

Step Nine: Go to slightly-less-local Toyota dealership out in the boonies. Find a good car. Make an offer. Watch as car salesman's eyes bug out of his head at this low figure. (Don't worry, that's just the images of his commission flying away.) Then - and it's important that you don't forget this part - say "yes, and that's minus the trade-in value."

Get your car at a good price anyway and drive off happy :)

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