High School MeMe

John recently completed this high school meme. It looked like fun, so I’m following suite. Feel free to post your own and let me know.

1. Did you date someone from your school? My high school years were sad and pathetic romantically (and in most other ways as well). I didn’t date in high school. 

2. Did you marry someone from your high school? No, I married someone from my wife’s high school.

3. Did you car pool to school? Sometimes. Mostly though, I walked before I got my license and drove by myself after. 

4. What kind of car did you have? A puke-green 1975 Chevy Vega. This may explain my answer to #1.

5. What kind of car do you have now? A red 2008 Toyota Corolla.

6. Its Friday night…where are you now? Watching TV and having a beer.

7. It is Friday night…where were you then? You would probably find me with John. Either at his house, my house, a high school sports game, or cruising. And if we were cruising, you’d find us chugging…a 7-11 Super Big Gulp. 

8. What kind of job did you have in high school? I was a gas station attendant at a Chevron gas station.

9. What kind of job do you do now? I’m an IS Administrator.

10. Were you a party animal? No.

11. Were you considered a flirt? No.

12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? Yes, I was a band nerd. Yet more evidence for #1.

13. Were you a nerd? I won the trifecta of nerd-dom: band, science club, and chess club.

14. Did you get suspended from school? No, not in high school. I was suspended once or twice in Middle School.

15. Can you sing the fight song? No. However, it is to the tune of On Wisconsin. I guess our school was too poor to come up with its own song.

16. Who was/were your favorite teacher? Ms. Richter (Math) and Mr. Endicott (Social Studies).

17. Where did you sit during lunch? In a chair like everyone else.

18. What was your school’s full name? Ontario High School

19. Where did you party the most? My place or John’s.

20. What was your school mascot? The Tigers! And this was during the 80s. In band, we played Eye of the Tigers so much it made our ears bleed.

21. Would you do it again? Only if I could do it right this time.

22. Did you have fun at Prom? Do we have to keep bringing up dating? Are you tring to rub salt into the wound? Please again refer to #1.

23. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with? One last time, see #1.

24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? Most likely. It makes for some cheap entertainment.

25. Do you still talk to people from school? A few of them.

26. What are/were your school’s colors? Cardinal & Corn, whatever the heck those are. How about red and yellow?

Insanity on Wheels: The Final Chapter

You may recall that we had decided to buy a used vehicle, sight unseen, from an out of town dealership. Indeed, the Older Daughter and I flew to Portland over the weekend. We took a quick test drive, had lunch with our family there, then drove home.

It was an extremely long day. However, the RAV4 is exactly what we were looking for and this appears to be a good pick. There are a few minor cosmetic things that we need to get fixed up. But for a 10-year-old vehicle, it is in excellent condition and runs great.

And here is the Older Daughter beaming with pride. Of course, you can’t tell because I have blurred her face out of my extreme paranoia.

Insanity on Wheels?

Using our Ford F-250 as a commuter vehicle is killing us. Plus, we will soon have a licensed teenage driver (run for cover folks!) So, we decided that it was time for a third vehicle. The third vehicle will become The Wife’s primary commuter vehicle, but will also be driven by the Older Daughter quite a bit. Unfortunately, there has been no agreement on what type of vehicle is wanted. Here is what we were basically looking at:

  • Me: I’m the household accountant, so I want one of those coffins-on-wheels that gets like 67 miles per gallon.
  • The Wife: She wants a 4-wheel drive pickup. Wait, that’s what we are trying to replace as her commuter vehicle. What the heck? Okay, maybe a smaller truck would get slighter better mileage. That’s not very helpful.
  • Older Daughter: It has to be cute and/or hot…preferably both.

You can probably see that this is a very difficult situation to resolve. However, after much weeping and gnashing of teeth, we settled on the Toyota RAV4. It’s a 4-wheel drive (Wife: check), it gets great gas mileage (me: check), and according to the Older Daughter it’s cute (someone kill me now please).

Our budgeted price range put us at about the 1997-98 model year. We couldn’t find any locally, so we widened our search to places within a day’s driving range from home. This evening, we found this one in the Portland area:

I spent some time on the phone this evening with the salesman. He test drove it for me and checked it out. Of course, the report back is that it’s a great vehicle. Fortunately, my brother-in-law lives in the area and is going to check it out for us tomorrow. If he gives the green light, we’re going to buy it. Yes, Sunday morning I may be flying to Portland to buy a vehicle that I have never seen in person, touched, or test driven. Is that complete insanity? Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Toyota Rules

In previous posts, I have taken companies to task for their poor products and/or service (see my Rants category). Today, the Dad In The Headlights Consumer Protection Division is launching a new campaign to shine the spotlight on businesses that actually do things the right way. So you’ll see posts titled “{Company Name} Rules” to highlight great companies as opposed to the “{Company Name} Sucks” that I have used for those that just don’t get it. I don’t think these posts will generate as much interests as my “sucks” posts. Sadly, a negative story will often generate more interest than a positive one. But hey, this gives me another category in which to flap my (virtual) jaws about.

Right after World War II, Japan was synonymous with shoddy products. Due to the efforts of W. Edward Deming throughout the 1950s, Japan became a powerhouse of quality. One shining example of this is Toyota. I have owned 4 Toyotas, and loved each one of them. Let’s take a look at why Toyota rules:

Reliability: This is key for me. I’ve had a couple of vehicles over the years that seemed to be in the shop for repairs every couple of months. This is not only costly, but a huge hassle when you have a busy life. I want a car that I can rely on for years. Toyota totally delivers here. I’ve owned 4 Toyotas over the years and have literally never had a problem with any of them. One that I sold to a friend of a friend is still running strong at nearly 200,000 miles.

Resale Value: Toyotas are absolutely amazing in this category. This is actually a downside if you are looking to save some money by buying a late-model used car. A Toyota that is a year or two old with low miles costs almost as much as a new one. Another example: I purchased a 1997 Corolla in 2004 for $8000. I totaled it in 2007 and the insurance cut me a check for $6700. Amazing!

Cost of Ownership: Notice I didn’t say price. Toyotas typically cost more up-front than other brands. However, because of their incredible reliability and low depreciation, the total cost of ownership is less than other brands.

Features: Are Toyotas the hottest cars out there? No, not by far. However, they are extremely functional and even the “stripped down” models are loaded with lots of features.

Warranty: This is one area where Toyata lags behind the competition. A new car still only comes with a 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty. They could easily offer a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty (as Hyundai does) and add very little their costs because of their reliability. I’m willing to bet that they lose some sales just because people want that peace of mind that a longer warranty provides.

Buy American: Don’t start lecturing me about buying American. We don’t do the US automakers any favors by buying their crappy products (yes, I know they aren’t all crappy…pipe down). Competition is what drives improvements. If they lose sales to superior products, they are forced to improve or be driven out of business. We are starting to see the reliability gap between US and Japanese automakers narrow. Detroit is getting the message. Also, you can’t lecture me about buying American when I’m driving my Toyota made in the US and you’re driving your GM made in Mexico.