Nothing To Believe In

Cripes. I drive a 2002 Toyota Camry, which I bought new off the lot. I’ve driven all 85,000 miles of it and I think I’ve had to bring it to the shop once, for a tweak on the brakes. Oh, there was that time it had to be fixed when our house painters dropped a ladder on it. Oops. Then there was that time when my neighbor side-swiped me in our shared driveway at our old house. Oops. But those weren’t mechanical failures. Of course, I bring it in every 5-6K miles for scheduled service and I’d like to think that’s helped with why I’ve had so little problems with it.

This recall, though, has so quickly spun Toyota from golden boys to rust faster than you can say “GM in the eighties.” It has turned the car industry on its heels! Suddenly it’s A-OK to buy American and Toyota will KILL you! Can you imagine saying that even one year ago?

My car is NOT on the recall list. But with all these stories coming out about how Toyota secretly danced around the fire on its production snafus and how they wiggled out of them, I find myself wondering what’s going on under my hood? Should I ditch the car? I paid it off in 2005 for god’s sake! I’ve been enjoying no payments and clean bills of health on it for almost five years now! But who knows?! And why should I even take .0005% risk when I have two precious boys often riding sidecar with me? Now that I’ll be driving to work every day soon, should I bite the bullet and get something else? It’s horrifying. It’s like the sweet girl from next door gets popped for robbing banks and selling heroin.

Then I read this, from this morning’s Boston Globe. Are there more out there that haven’t been recalled yet? I kinda think there are and that Toyota is just going to stretch out the recalls so the shit doesn’t hit the fan all at once for them. Who can you trust? What would you do?

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Decide What To Be And Go Be It

This post today is a single post with two meanings. One is very simple: I absolutely love this song. I think I have listened to it nearly every day for six months now. I love the lyrics, I love the music, I love the voice. I love that organ that rolls in so abruptly and so beautifully at the 1:50 mark.  The other meaning is more complicated, but it helps to explain how I’m feeling these days. More on that in the next few days:

The Avett Brothers – “Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right
And it comes in black and it comes in white
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it

When nothing is owed or deserved or expected
And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected
If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it

There was a dream and one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I’ll scream til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

There’s a darkness upon you that’s flooded in light
And in the fine print they tell you what’s wrong and what’s right
And it flies by day and it flies by night
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it

There was a dream and one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I’ll scream til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

There was a dream and one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I’ll scream til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right
There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

US-Canada

That US-Canada hockey game last night was captivating from start to finish. Not just because the Americans won it, either. Because it was simply an excellent hockey game, a treasure of a night if you’re a hockey fan. However, a word of caution. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Canada outshot the US by almost a margin of double, pouring roughly 45 shots on Ryan Miller, the US goaltender. It also shouldn’t be forgotten that Canada dominated the game at certain points. I mean, the way the US team was manhandled in the last ten minutes of the third period should be evidence enough. By no means should the US get too high and I don’t even have to say that next week, Canada will be in the thick of the medal hunt. Though I guess I just did say it, didn’t I?

But sometimes a game transcends who you are cheering for. When you see a game like the one last night, it becomes more of a deep appreciation for the game. If the Americans had lost, I’d still be just as blown away by the quality of the game, the intensity and the constant back-and-forth breathlessness of it all. A showcase, indeed. I’d even venture to say that there was only one single truly dirty play in the game – and that would Scott Neidermayer’s hold-and-throw of an American player as the second period ended. What a great night.

Oh, and Ryan Miller? Good god, man. Ryan Miller! He coolly handled everything the Great White North threw at him last night. His disposition was that of a second string goaltender playing an AHL game. What a performance. It’s rather obvious that he is the reason the US won the game last night, but that’s why he’s there. To put the team on his back if he has to – and last night he had to.

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Huh?

H&R Block can suck it! I don’t really like the fact that I have to bring my taxes to someone else, as up until around 2006 I just did them myself with TurboTax. But my financial situation since then has gotten complicated enough that I just feel better having pros do it, so every year I begrudgingly trot all our tax forms down to the H&R Block store in Stow, MA. The past few years it’s been painless enough, with the exception, of course, of the tax bill itself.

This year, though, it’s as if the people who work there have been imported from Mars. The person who was supposed to handle my taxes for the first appointment didn’t even show up. So I had to reschedule. The second time was today. I had a scheduled 11am meeting and when I arrived at 10:50, I was told to come back in 20 minutes. OK, fair enough. I wandered around the mean streets of the Stow Shopping Plaza, walking up and down the aisles of Ace Hardware and the newly refurbished and still obnoxiously expensive Shaw’s Supermarket  and went in and plopped myself down on a chair at 11:10. The gentleman there said “we’ll be with you in just a minute.” OK. I waited until 11:35 before I got up and left. WTF H&R Block?

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Floating

When we moved to Lancaster, MA,  I believe I was just four years old. I remember pulling into the driveway to see our new house for the first time, running into the house and picking my bedroom. I chose the room in the back corner of the house. Even back then I knew the advantages of solitude, I suppose. But that’s another story for another day. Before moving to Lancaster, we lived in Sterling, MA. I have no memory whatsoever of living there. I wish I could remember being one or two. Alas, it seems rare that anyone remembers that far back.

Between Sterling and Lancaster, we lived in an apartment in Clinton, called Towne Line Apartments. I do have some interesting memories from those days:

  • I remember potty training there.
  • I once rolled myself up in a large blanket on the living room floor and couldn’t get out. I screamed bloody murder while my sister and mother worked feverishly to unroll me.
  • I had a little hockey stick and one day, I got a hold of my dad’s shaving cream and sprayed it everywhere on the floor, then pretended all the shaving cream spots were pucks….
  • I remember one weekday morning a neighbor upstairs (an older lady) invited my sister into her apartment for bread & butter. We went in and enjoyed the food. Of course, this would never happen today.
  • Outside in the complex pool, I remember being hesitant to go near the skimmer because a man jokingly told me there were a lot of frogs in there.

I have very little to say lately. I will have a lot to say soon. I am on vacation this week, while Stephanie and the kids are on their normal schedules. I just needed to grab a week to do all those little things that pile up over the course of a year. Today, I’ll do our taxes. But I’ll also watch obscure Winter Olympics in the mid-afternoon. It’s sort of like a vortex. Vacation, but alone. Of course, solitude……everyone needs some.

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail