Sunday, July 05, 2015

Car Shopping: Finale

I found this Nissan Sentra on Craigslist this morning. Everything looked good and it was being sold at the Lithia dealer on South Broadway. That's where I bought my work truck I've been very satisfied with. I've always felt Lithia was careful to sell quality used cars, if they were to sell them at all. At least from my prior experience.

I wanted to make sure they were open so went to their web site and found they had one of those live chat apps to talk to a representative. I gave that a try. Clicked on a link and a chat window opened. Before I could do anything some guy types "Good morning. How can we help you". That was fast. 

I ask him if the Nissan Sentra was still available. He says to hold while he goes to check. He comes back and says it is and asks if I wanted to make an appointment to look at the car. I told him I didn't want to make an appointment but we'd come by sometime within the next couple hours. He gets my name and phone number then tells me he'll let the sales guys know and to tell the front desk who I am when I get there.

We get down there a bit before noon. Some guy was out placing flags advertising sales. Turned out he was the sales manager. We asked him about the Nissan Sentra. He's not sure if it's still there and goes inside to check. He comes out and said it had been sold at the end of the previous day. Figures (I had a feeling that online guy wasn't local). We tell him we're looking for something like that- smaller and good on gas. He asks us to wait for a minute while he goes to find a regular sales guy.

The sales guy comes out, his name was "Toppy". Pleasant fellow with the gift of gab. By that, I mean someone that seems to know how to easily talk to people. They don't have a whole lot of used cars but the ones they do have are nice, as I expected, but a bit out of our price range and large for my tastes but, hey, this isn't about me.


Connie seems slightly interested in a black Chevy Cruze. I'm not happy with a black car but didn't say anything. We kept going back to a 2013 Hyundai Elantra- kind of a mix between gray and blue (picture isn't the same color). It was over what I wanted to pay, but the guy suggested the price wasn't set in stone. It wasn't really that expensive considering the year and miles- just over 30k miles- but that's because it was a former rental car. I have no problem with rentals.

I forget exactly, but I think they were asking a bit over $13k. After all would be said and done, that would probably be $15k or more, but that was probably the best we could do there. If nothing else, though, I really do trust that they try to sell quality used cars. I mentioned to the guy my concern was mostly monthly payments. I didn't want to pay over $200.00, although I knew that was asking a bit much. 


I finally suggest Connie take a drive in it. We get in, drive to Herrick Avenue and back. During the short drive, I reiterated to the guy monthly payments were my main concern. He confirmed $200 was a bit low to expect, but he'd see what he could do. 

We get back and he invites us inside to figure out the financial details. I know where this is going so reminded him we didn't say we were going to buy the car. It depended on what kind of deal we could get. He said he understood. Here we go! I know I'm about to buy a car.

My resistance was low, anyway. I wanted to get this car buying thing over with. I was stressed and had the beginnings of a headache the whole time. The sales guy takes all our info. Checks our credit, insurance and all sorts of other stuff. Then he starts rattling off sales points about warranties for various things that I'm thinking will cost extra, but I don't really recall him mentioning costs. He probably did. He's just good at slipping that stuff in low key.

I'd agreed somewhere along the line that $250 monthly payments would be acceptable. He got it close to that at $271, or thereabouts. Then he started going though various figures and all sorts of paperwork. I wasn't just burned out at that point, I was fried. Finally after an hour or more, at some point I said, fine, let's do it. We signed some more papers and I thought that was it. Nope.

He says to hold on and we had to go somewhere else to finalize the deal. Ugh! The sales manager, the first guy we saw when we arrived, comes out and introduces himself. He asks us to go to his office where he's got a stack of papers to sign. Here we go again!

It seemed like an hour just going through all that paperwork, signing or initialing this and that. That's when I got to actually see some of the stuff I let slip through because of my weakened state: Some free oil change deal that cost a thousand or more dollars. Some free dent repair thing good for 100k miles or some such, and something else that escapes me now. 

As best I could see, that added $3000, more or less, than I had originally hoped for, although I know they always slip in costs. Oh well. I wasn't going to argue about it that late in the game and, for the condition of the car, it would be nice to have some "free" dent repair. The oil change thing you're actually paying for, although I'd prefer to pay as we go than up front. 

Oh well. After close to 2 1/2 hours, a new car. Bigger than I would have liked, but otherwise very nice- almost too nice. At least the car buying headache is over and we actually have a car I wouldn't feel uncomfortable driving to San Francisco. Had we bought some of the older, used cars we'd seen at other dealers, I probably wouldn't feel that way.

Anybody interested in a '95 Geo Metro in very rough shape?

Addendum: Our bum nephew has asked to buy that car for $100. SOLD, assuming things work out. The rest of you, post your offers here.

Vaxxer Debunked?

This commentary in Epic Times claims the doctor saying Jim Carrey's arguments have been debunked has been debunked himself. I've read this twice and I'm not seeing it, at least not yet. Maybe it's in Part 2?

Jim Carrey claims he's not opposed to vaccines, just the thermosol used as preservatives. The doctor claims that makes you an anti- vaxxer and you can't be pro- vaccine but against the preservative used in it (why not?). What a waste of an argument. Quibbling over whether someone is anti- vax, or not. That's not debunking anything.

No debunking I can find in the rest of the article, either. I get the impression the writer thinks there is. He goes on to address studies, some of which would be considered anti- vax and those pro- vax. The doctor has suggested his studies are the good ones. The writer seems to claim others are just as valid. 

Who is to decide? We see this same sort of thing time and again when arguing GMOs, fluoride, global warming and on and on.

That people see "science" differently is good to point out, but not a debunking. All it does is illustrate something I've pointed out here more than once: "Science" nowadays is for the most part based on ideology (and politics). Often the studies themselves, but more importantly what studies someone deems valid. 

Some are going to believe studies showing vaccination can cause autism. Some are going to believe ones that show it doesn't. Which ones they accept is based on their world view, or ideology. I don't see pointing that out as debunking anything.

Was It Something We Said?

Someone that moved to Arcata a couple years ago didn't like it according to this Craigslist ad:

Why did I come to Humboldt? (Arcata)


I came to Arcata because I heard it was a great place to live so I brought my family. I found a full time job working with a local company. I shop only at local, small businesses. I believe in being a part of the community. However, I found something very different. I found a community that was "locals only". I found an area that was not welcoming. I don't understand it. Without migration from "non-locals", your area is doomed to fail. I am very aware of how Humboldt works and how it functions. Marijuana will be legalized. It's coming. You are going to need people like me who believe in the community and small business. After 2 years, I have decided to take my family and move on. Best of luck Humboldt. You are going to need it.

Might have been more fun of a read if they'd been more specific. Anyone have a guess as to why? Fess up if you might have been one of those who chased them off. Meanies!


Saturday, July 04, 2015

Trio AXS Tablet Update

I thought I had everything I needed set up on this new tablet. Stumbled on how to get my bookmarks imported from the desktop. They have it set up so the Google Chrome browser on the tablet can import them from the Desktop Chrome.. via Google.

What you do is go to the desktop Chrome and import bookmarks from Firefox. You have to make sure a box is checked in settings for "synching", or whatever it's called. On the tablet you have to register and log in with Google, or maybe it's Google+. Magically, my bookmarks appeared, although I discovered them by accident. Not sure when they actually showed up there.

They don't automatically update. I had to open Chrome on the desktop this morning, dump the old Firefox bookmarks and import the changed ones. Then the tablet picked up the change. One thing that bugged me at first is the bookmarks aren't as I'm used to on the desktop. They're a bunch of square files. Better than nothing I thought at first, then I realized since it's a touch screen, that's probably the best way to do it.

So one biggie solved. Now I needed to see if roboform would work with it. That's what I use to fill in my sweepstakes forms. I found it on Google Play, downloaded and installed it. Set it up and it works to fill in passwords, but I couldn't figure out how to fill in fields. I kept looking and looking, finally going to the roboform web site for answers. Then I check their support site only to find it doesn't work with Chrome, Firefox or other browsers. Just the Android one with the tablet.  Grrr...that really popped my bubble.

Problem with that is I'll have to figure out how to get my  bookmarks to that browser. That, and I can't seem to be able to get that other browser to open now.  

So still looking for answers and I found this Dashlane app that suggests it's used for Android, but the web page isn't really clear about that. It's starts out saying it can be used to fill forms with Android, but it reads as if they're talking about desk tops. I just sent them an e-mail asking to clarify. If they say it works with a tablet and Chrome, I'll dump roboform and use that. If not, I'm stuck...again.

Car Shopping In Eureka

Time to buy the wifey a newer car so I've been looking around online. I'm surprised at how big the average car for sale is nowadays. We wanted something smaller than what I've been seeing. Why would someone want a four door sedan that can carry six when most of us don't need to drive around more than two people?

One of my favorites is the Ford Fiesta. You don't see those around very much. But this isn't about me. This is supposed to be for her.

Saw a Fiesta online at Harper Ford, then I saw this Ford Focus. Connie thought the Focus looked acceptable so I kept that in mind. Saw what I thought was a nice Ford Fiesta at a Fortuna dealer, but I am not going to drive all over the county just to buy a car. The wife is a recreational shopper. I am NOT. I had it in mind to just hit Mid- City Motor World. She wanted to go look just about anywhere, including Mckinleyville. Nope, that's not going to happen. 

My reasoning for Mid- City, and more specifically Harper Ford, was they have so many cars, or so I thought- one stop shopping if you will. I've also been partial to larger dealers since I bought my work truck. That thing was immaculate when I bought it. I get the impression larger dealers have more resources to make sure cars are squared away before sale. 

Due to scheduling conflicts, we couldn't go out on Friday and decided to try today, July 4. Connie thought it might be crazy on July 4. We were to find the exact opposite. They were all closed, save one.

I was going to drive straight to Harper Ford, but she said a few things as we started out indicating wanting to at least take a short look at Sole Savers. Ok. We'll go check it out.

We get there and nobody's home- closed for July 4. We still got out and looked around. A couple potential purchases, maybe. The problem was there were no prices listed on some of them. Didn't make me really want to take more than a cursory glance without prices to go by. We left without even taking a note.

As we started up 7th Street, Northwood Chevrolet/Hyundai was just a block away on the corner. Naturally, she suggested we stopped there. Lo and behold, they actually had a sales guy working. He was a across the street, but came over to show us around. They had mostly what I'd consider larger cars. That's when I found out Connie and I have different ideas about car size.

Most of their cars I would consider at best mid- sized. She seemed to be looking at a few of them half- assed seriously. Whatever. The one that caught both our interest was a 2011(?) Ford Focus hatchback. Even that one seemed a bit large to me. Nice car, though, priced down to $12kish. As we got ready to move on, the sales guy said he had plenty of time and we could take a test drive. Nah, but we did take his business card and I was serious when I told him that car was on "our list".

Across the street, out in front of the Hyundai building, was a red Chevy Spark. We'd seen that in the paper some days earlier. No real info in the newspaper ad so I checked online. That was the only Spark they had and, unfortunately, had a four speed transmission. Both of us would prefer an automatic. If that had an auto trans, I was thinking of buying it sight unseen. Cheapest new car I'd seen. 

Off to Mid- City Motor World. They were closed. We parked and looked around. Most of their cars seemed either large, expensive, or both. The Ford Focus hatchback I saw on Craigslist was nowhere to be seen. Nor was the Ford Fiesta I'd seen earlier on CL that morning. About the only one that caught my eye was a Nissan Versa for something like $11k. It was a newer one, too, which made us wonder why so cheap. Then I saw something on a paper laying on its seat saying it was a former rental car. That's why. Still, I don't mind rentals. That one goes somewhere on the list.

Not really a whole lot of choice at any of the places we'd been to, so far. This wasn't looking too good. The Nissan Versa had me thinking Nissan. I really like some of their cars. The Versa being one. Since we're already out and around, I suggested the Nissan dealer.

Nobody home there, either. There was one nice blue Versa, brand new, for about $16.5k. We weren't planning on buying a new car but at that price- and they advertised 0% financing- I wondered how much a monthly payment would be? Nice. There was also a used one at a price we could afford, although I forget how much. We put both of those on our list.

I was thinking of going home but Connie suggested going to Roy's Auto Center. Okaaay, we'll go there.

Nobody home, but I was pleasantly surprised. There was probably six cars, maybe more, along the fifth street side worth looking at. Nissan Versa- two of them- and a few other brands that I can't recall as I write this. Most with automatic transmissions and looking in good shape. Limited warranties and all worth putting on the list. 

We might stop by there tomorrow, assuming they're open. Two or three of their cars seemed worth putting at the top of our list.

We got home and I don't know that it was more than 20 minutes before Connie goes, "Maybe we should try Lithia Dodge". Nope. Nothing against Lithia, but I am NOT a shopper. Enough of this for one day.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Test of Tàblet

Just trying a blog test of the tablet. You dont want to do this unless you have to.

Google Chrome vs. Firefox

I was just getting ready to try and import my bookmarks from Firefox to the new tablet. I read somewhere yesterday something about they automatically show up on the tablet's Chrome browser if you already use Chrome on the desktop. So, I opened up Chrome for the first time in years and will have to say I like what I see.

I've been pissed at Yahoo and Gmail ever since they increased their screen resolution requirements. My monitor wasn't adaptable to theirs so I used the closest setting. That causes problems in both mail programs with not being able to read a whole e-mail horizontally and it often won't let me scroll to the right to see the rest of it. From what I've seen with Chrome in the one minute I had it open, Yahoo and gmail work fine.

The Compose page for this blog works better, too, although the text is smaller- almost too small. So far so good. I'm going to have to try using this for a while. Maybe I'll switch to Google Chrome.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

A New Toy

My sister sent me a brand new tablet. A Trio 7.8" Quad Core. Why? I guess she likes to buy things for people. I told her I'm not sure I'd use it that much. I would like something small to replace my laptop when we go to UCSF twice a year, but I'm not sure this would handle the few things I usually do with my laptop.

After checking things out, I see it might suffice. It's a pain in the neck getting started. I'm starting to figure it out. Main problem right now is I can't connect to anything. This comes with some free 5 month deal with T- Mobile, but I can't get finish the sign up procedure. It just freezes up. 

I don't have wifi yet so that's out unless I use someone else's. I'm connecting with the Matteoli's wifi connection from across the street, but the signal is weak and I don't have the password. If my bum nephew comes over today he'll show me how to get in. Other than that, I have another friend near the high school with wifi. Maybe I'll go over there in a bit.

This could be fun once I get all the kinks out and can use it. Be a lot easier to throw this in my duffle bag than taking the laptop, keyboard and every thing else I usually take with me to UCSF.

Political Correctness Killing Comedy

I've been reading more and more lately of comedians complaining about political correctness. Jerry Seinfeld stopped making appearances on college campuses because of political correctness. So has Chris Rock. Comedian Stephen Merchant feels the same way, and points to The Left:

It feels like we’ve come from a point when I was growing up, where the right, if you like, were dictating what could be said and done and seen – where Mary Whitehouse was the figurehead of censorship,” said the star of Hello Ladies, adding, “Increasingly now it feels like it’s the liberal agenda that dictates what can and cannot be joked about.”

I'm trying to place comedian Artie Lange. The name sounds familiar. He says, "Political correctness is the direct enemy of comedy. Humor is to feel loose and not take yourself too seriously. You should be able to joke about everything race, religion; sexuality. Everything should be okay to joke about.”

I agree.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Libertarians & LGBT Alliance: What's Next?

Reason's LGBT expert, Scott Shackford takes a look at the future of relations between libertarians and the LGBT community. One item of agreement, same sex marriage, seems to have been resolved. Where do we go next?

"But just because libertarians and gay citizens were aligned in the pursuit of ending government mistreatment, that doesn't mean other goals line up. Libertarians draw that bright, hard line between government behavior and private behavior. Others often do not, and what many gay activists see as justice and equality in the private sector, libertarians see as inappropriate government coercion."

Shackford then goes on to look at certain issues such as religious freedom, transgender recognition and adoption. Hard for me to read through it all and get a feeling for just what he thinks. I get the impression he thinks most problems we might see the LGBT community might want addressed aren't really problems at all, can be handled without more government involvement, or perhaps we'll just end up on opposing sides.

I don't think the LGBT community will agree. My experience, albeit limited, is they generally lean strongly left, if not authoritarian. Thus, forcing bakers to bake cakes for them or photograph their weddings isn't out of the question. 

I hope I'm wrong but, as we've already seen with Johnny's comments here, getting government out of marriage goes too far. Government needs to be in charge of it. The same will likely apply to most other issues.

That New Vaccination Law: SB 277

The Lost Coast Outpost reports on the Governor signing a law strengthening vaccination requirements. Mine was the second comment made to the story. Mostly things I've written before here and elsewhere. Here it is:

I find this rather disturbing. I happen to be pro vaccination, but I don't think a good case was made for strengthening vaccination requirements. I write this as someone whose wife lost immunity to measles from a bone marrow transplant so was at greater risk than most.

The recent measles "epidemic" consisted of a few over 200 people in multiple states. Hardly enough to be called an epidemic, except for measles being pretty rare in this country.

Over half the people infected were those already vaccinated. Not only that, but the hotbeds of anti- vax sentiment, Marin County and Santa Cruz, didn't have spikes of infections (we had to stay in Marin during the "epidemic". Rather unnerving but no harm done). I just don't see a compelling case for this law. 


The other side is you're essentially talking of holding someone down and injecting someone with something they believe- I think wrongfully- is very dangerous for them. I would think doing that to someone is justification for strong resistance, including deadly force. Think about if someone tried to inject something into you that you greatly feared.

This law isn't something that should be applauded.

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I guess I shouldn't be surprised an anonymous pro- vax commenter chose to go after me. Nor should I be surprised he or she apparently didn't even read what I wrote, ignoring that I'm pro- vax and the wife can't be vaccinated for measles and thus is vulnerable.

He or she gives a few of the vaccination talking points, including we'll have major epidemics without this new law. I pointed out again the last "epidemic" showed the spread of disease wasn't too wide and eventually seemed to poop out on its own under the old standards. He or she ignored that.

Funny how some people feel they have to pick a fight with you even when you pretty much agree with them overall, except for the need of a new law.

I will admit to being somewhat surprised that comment only got 4 up ticks as of last time I looked. 145 comments, and only 4 up ticks? Then I realized most people don't understand not taking a hard line on an issue one way or the other. You're either for something or against it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Study: Fluoridation Not Particularly Effective

I've wrote before here that I'm not particularly worried about the health effects of fluoridated water. We've had it in Eureka since the '60s and I can't point to any specific harm myself or others have suffered from. Still, I've become an anti- fluoride zealot over the last few years after seeing how many were scared to death of it and how many others wanted to force it upon them.

This article in Newsweek cites recent studies that show no significant, if any, benefit from fluoridated water. I'm not really comfortable citing "scientific studies" as it seems most nowadays are based on ideology as opposed to objective facts and reasoning. I have no idea whether the the Cochrane Collaboration they quote is objective, but from the way the story reads, they don't sound anti- fluoride.

Even "Dr." Steve Slott shows up in the comments. That says something. He seems to spend his days surfing the web to rebut arguments against fluoride with fluoride industry talking points. He regularly shows up when fluoride comes up in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat, pretty much just saying any evidence the antis have is bogus, then regurgitating the same things we hear time and again about how great fluoride is.

Him and I went back and forth one time at length. I'd ask him, for instance, to rebut the statement that the difference between fluoridated water and non- fluoridated is maybe 5 instead of 6 cavities a year. He ignored that, just getting hysterical. He finally went on some rant about kids in non- fluoridated areas losing all their teeth and facing major costs for dental surgery. When I pointed out that is rare, but even happens in fluoridated areas, he gave up.

As far as I'm concerned, Dr. Slott is reason enough to be leery of fluoridated water. 

The Supreme Court

S.F. Chronicle commentator, Debra Saunders, discusses the SCOTUS decision legalizing same sex marriage:

"The romantic in me rejoices. The lover of states’ — and voters’ — rights mourns. I cannot celebrate five judges imposing their view of marriage by fiat. I cannot ignore that Kennedy waited to do so until same-sex marriage was popular."

You most certainly can have mixed feelings about the decision.
******
Over at Reason magazine, Ira Stoll looks at recent decisions by the Supreme Court, responding to at least one comment suggesting abolishing it. By no means do I advocate that. I will differ with him at least in part. While he points out both good and bad decisions, at least from a libertarian perspective, he focuses on the positive. Seems to me the Court generally takes two steps backward for each one forward.
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As far as consequences of the gay marriage decision, some see it as opportunities available in other areas. Over at lewrockwell.com, a fellow suggests the decision opens up the possibility of national concealed carry reciprocity.  What that means is if someone has a concealed weapons permit in one state, all the other states would have to honor it. 

Most on the Right- at least those involved in gun rights- would like that. The Left would generally hate it. As usual, I have mixed feelings. 
******
Late News: Some state officials in Texas are gearing up for a defense of religious freedom reports USA Today. They're encouraging county clerks to refuse issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples should they feel it goes contrary to their religious beliefs.

Hmmm??? The religious freedom conundrum, on which I generally side with those seeking that freedom. You would expect that to have me in a bind but, since this involves government officials, I'd say it makes it easy. Since they're expected to abide by state and federal law, I'd suggest they find another job if this part of it makes them uncomfortable.

Then again, I can't help but wonder if they'd have as big an issue with it if marriage licenses were called something else- civil contracts, civil unions, or whatever? But, as USA Today points out:

"Ultimately, it will come down to two fundamental rights – religious freedom granted explicitly in the Constitution, and same-sex liberties, which have been confirmed through previous court decisions – battling for precedence, she said.
"You have these two fundamental rights that are completely at odds with one another," Penrose said. "It will ultimately be up to the Supreme Court to decide which right reigns supreme."

You have to wonder how they'd decide in a case like this?

Another Kid Arrested For Playing

Reason magazine reports on yet another kid arrested for playing at a park. This time across the street from her house. Her mother has been charged with child endangerment. This has got to stop, but I'm sure we'll see it more and more in years to come.

Monday, June 29, 2015

An Old West Show

Any fellow Old West fans out there? If so, you may want to watch Legends and Lies on Fox. Even the wife seems to enjoy it. Historical snapshots and stories focusing on a particular western character such as Billy the Kid or Bill Hickok. Last night they took a look at Bass Reeves, a black U.S. Marshall, born a slave, that apprehended over 3000 bad guys in his career.

Fun show produced by Bill O'Reilly. About the only thing that puzzles me is I'd like to think I have some knowledge, albeit years old, of the history and people involved. Often times with this show they'll bring up stuff I don't think I've heard before. But, there's different versions of many of those old stories. Still, it should be entertaining for old west fans.

Rand Paul: Get Govt. Out of Marriage

Related to my post yesterday about those saying government shouldn't be involved in marriage, Rand Paul just came out saying government should get out of it. Reason's Scott Shackford seems about as impressed as I am with trying to make that case:

"We need high-profile politicians like Paul to stop asking us what would happen if we got government out of marriage and start telling us what would happen if we got government out of marriage."

Not that libertarians necessarily want people telling them how things are going to be, but it makes sense for those in power to tell us what they actually have in mind. In other words, no pun intended, be more specific in your proposal.

Rand Paul Scores Highest On Pot

Reason magazine takes a look at the Marijuana Policy Project's 2016 presidential candidate rankings. Republican Rand Paul gets an A- with Democrat Jim Webb coming in second with a B+. The losers are Republicans Rick Santorum and Chris Christie who both get an F.

There you have it, pot heads. You know who to vote for now. As for me, while I'm tired of hearing about pot, the issue is one that can gauge a candidate's way of thinking. I'll certainly keep this in mind. I wouldn't vote for Santorum or Christie regardless. At this point I'm keeping an eye on Rand Paul, but always have the Libertarian Party's, Gary Johnson, to fall back on.