This is it!

This is the post that I have (im)patiently waited to write for over 4 months. And now that there is resolution to the story, I can finally lay it out for all of yous. This is the story of 1 man and his journey. A journey filled with heartbreak, frustration, excitement, nervousness, sadness, and happiness.

This is the story about the Yarshmobile.

Stealth 1  Stealth 2
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It all started out at the end of November last year. I had been driving the Yarshmobile for 4 months with expired registration. Problem was that the car had some engine issues and smoked like a mofo, not to mention that it also drank oil but then just spit it back out. But it ran, so I had a way to get to work each day. I didn’t do much other travel (to hang out with friends, go to the grocery story, etc) because I didn’t want to get pulled over. But one morning, on my way to work, I had the misfortune of driving by an officer who was pulling on to the freeway after stopping another car. He pulled in behind me and flashed the lights… damn. Ticketed. It was time for a new car. Not only so that I could reduce my fine for the ticket (because I knew there was no way to get the car fixed before my court date), but because I needed something a bit more reliable and something that ran well.

I had only a small amount of criteria for my vehicle – it had to be somewhat sporty and fast, look cool, and be able to handle the size of my 88-key keyboard. I did my research and fell in love… with an ’05 Dodge Magnum RT (it’s got a Hemi!). The Magnum definitely has the size to handle such a large cargo load. I found one listed online and decided to take a look.

I really liked the car once I test drove it that December morning, and worked out a deal for it. I drove off of the lot that day and went to Jeff & Abbi’s house warming party to show off the new diggs (technically, I went to the party to hang out and play poker. Showing off the car was a bonus).

Magnum 1  Magnum 2  Magnum 3
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While driving it that day, I did happen to notice a few issues that needed to get fixed (Sun roof didn’t close properly, leaving a gap where the elements could get into the car, and the rear windows wouldn’t go up/down on occasion), but the car was still under warranty and should have been fixed for free. So once the financing went through and it was legally mine, I would take care of them. Only 1 problem – the financing never went through. The dealer couldn’t approve the loan for me. And they jerked me around for 2 months. After a couple of weeks, when I hadn’t heard from them about approval and whatnot, I started calling them. I only talked to the finance department 2 times out of the 20 or so times that I called and left messages (and those 2 times were when I actually got them on the phone, not them returning my call). Finally, in February, they started calling me asking me to either find financing on my own, get a cosigner, or return the car. I decided to return the car. They could give me the $1000 back, that they originally gave me for the Stealth, and I would be on my way, never to deal with that dealer again. I returned the car, but still managed to drive off of the lot with a different car…

Stealth 1  Stealth 2

Yes, they still had the original Yarshmobile stowed away, and they pulled it out for me to drive home. They actually got 1 thing right – not selling off my car until the deal for that car had been finalized. That was a shock and a surprise, but at least I still had a car. So, now I am back in the same situation I was in only 2 months earlier, only more upset and frustrated because I actually liked the car. But I had to move on.

I looked for alternate financing to buy a Magnum, but it just wasn’t working out for me. When I finally got approved for the right amount, they dropped my financing significantly because of a technicality in my employment history for Connected Dot. So, I was forced to look away from Magnums entirely, and look at some econoboxes that would fulfill the requrements of the loan approval (2000 or newer vehicle with less than 30,000 miles on it) and be under my approval limit. Basically it came down to 2 choices: a new Nissan Sentra (which actually aren’t too bad with a 6 speed manual transmission), or a Honda Civic (which look ok, but I don’t care for Honda much). Then Randall suggested a Mazda 3. Cool looking cars, but are a bit more pricey. I researched them for a couple of days and found a new listing for a 2006 model late last week. I decided to go take a look at it on Friday night, but didn’t bring my checkbook or my trade-in since I was only there to see if I liked the car in the first place (many many thanks to my brother for letting me borrow his car for a month while I tried to find one of my own). Well, I liked it.

I told them that I didn’t have my trade with me. They said no problem, and that they could do an off-site appraisal. I told them that I didn’t have my checkbook, but they said that they could take the check after everything was worked out. Dammit… fine. Let’s run some numbers. 3 hours after I did my test drive, I was driving home in my new car. I was happy. It is really nice: All leather interior, Sunroof, Premium sound, Alloy wheels, Awesome Headlight and Taillight clusters, Kickass Instrument Panels, Looks sporty and sweet… It’s Niiiiiiiiice!</Borat>

Mazda3 1  Mazda3 2  Mazda3 3
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The only thing I had to take care of was getting the Stealth to the dealer, plus my down payment check(s). But those issues were solved because I brought the salesman, Moses, to my house that night where I wrote the checks for him and handed him the keys to the Stealth. He drove off and that was the last time I saw the original Yarshmobile.

This morning I got a call from Moses, who is an extremely nice guy, and he told me that the financing had been approved. And so with that, my story thus far is complete. I am the proud owner of a 2006 Mazda 3. I would definitely recommend Moses and Camelback Toyota to another person. The staff was helpful, and the building was modern and very clean (unlike Courtesy Chevrolet… I do not recommend them. I’m not even gonna link to their website).

And yeah, even though it is much smaller than the Magnum, my keyboard does in fact fit in there. So, w00t!

[tags]Cars, Mazda 3, Dodge Magnum[/tags]

Job Requirements: None?

Note to employers the world around: If the position you are trying to fill has 1 important requirement, please make sure that your selected candidate can actually handle said requirement.

Case in point: I spent the majority of my day yesterday sitting on my butt, watching movies, and playing my Nintendo DS from 8:45AM – 3:00PM. I was called upon by the state of Arizona to do so. Now, on this particular day, it was very apparent to me (and probably the other 100+ people there) that there was a new employee in training. His job was to accomplish 1 thing: Read a list of names that have been given to him (apparently selected at random) over the loudspeaker so that everybody can hear him. That, in essence, is the job (at least what I could see of it). Read a list of names.

Unfortunately, this cat – who is definitely not speaking his native language (and was not from a country located less than 400 miles from Phoenix) – cannot pronounce 90% of the names on the list. So, what should have taken 3 minutes for an English-as-a-first-language speaker, took 10. It was painful. It made the agony of expecting your name to be called, but praying that it wouldn’t be, all that much more terrifying.

Would it be so hard to give an interviewee for this position a list of 15 names, mix some english- and spanish-based names in there, and have them read it to you during the interview? Isn’t that like asking a software developer to show you how to write a function and call it, or having a telemarketer show you how to answer a phone?

Fortunately, my name was only mentioned once – at the end of the day (to make sure I was present) when they released us. And for as basic and simple of an American name as mine is, it was still butchered: Joe-Shwaah Smitt.

Lady and Gentleman, Your tax dollars at work.

Too much fun to be had

I ended up getting $170 dollars worth of gift certificates to Best Buy for my birthday. So, yesterday I decided to see if I could spend some of it. I went to the local BB to pick up Casino Royale and God of War 2. I would also check for a Wii (chances were extremely slim, but they’ve had a stack of PS3‘s on the floor for 5 days now, so you never know – Haha Sony! Nintendo is sticking it in your pooper…). Unfortunately, no GoW2. And no Wii. I did manage to grab Casino Royale though, and am looking forward to viewing it…

I decided to venture over to GameStop to see if they had GoW2, and they told me that they would be getting it today. I also went over to Mark‘s favorite hangout, Walmart, to see if they might possibly have it. No dice there either. No matter, I wanted to get it from BB anyways because of those gift certificates. I’ll check again today…

While at Walmart, I noticed that they had all of the Rocky movies on sale for $7.50 each. Considering that Rocky Balboa comes out on DVD next Tuesday, I picked those up to rewatch them before seeing the newest (which I didn’t get a chance to see in the theater). I bought all 4 of the originals. Even Walmart doesn’t acknowledge that a Rocky 5 was ever created: their display case had Rocky 1, 2, 3, and 4 only. How perfect.

So I beat God of War 1 again last night – only took 7.5 hours of gameplay total (after deciding to drop the difficulty level down from Hard to Easy since I only wanted to run through the game to get psyched up for GoW2 – I was getting destroyed on Hard mode and it was taking way too long to complete). Now I have to get GoW2 and catch up on my movie watching too… I have to see the Rocky’s, Casino Royale, The Illusionist (had it for weeks, but is still wrapped), and 3 Netflix movies: Superman 1, Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut, and Employee of the Month. Plus there is a Suns game tonight (#1 versus #2 in the NBA), new Smallville tomorrow, and Suns versus Pistons on Friday.

Yes, Jamey – this is pretty much why I have no social life. That and trying to get together with my friends is much more difficult these days because of conflicting schedules. But mostly this…

Oh yeah, and to all of you non-relationshiply-challenged men out there, happy Steak and BJ Day! I had my steak for lunch. Not counting on the BJ part though…

[tags]God of War 2, Movies, TV, Phoenix Suns, Steak and BJ Day[/tags]

Immature Geek Humor

While at lunch today, we discussed how one of our clients actually understands what we do: why we may be more expensive than your typical web haus, but are ultimately better. The answer is because your average web design company knows little-to-nothing about backend development, whereas our expertise lies primarily in the backend of software design (granted, we have a large amount of website creation experience as well). Sure you can get it cheaper, but chances are that it will not be better. We like to think of ourselves as software developers who happen to put a web-based user interface on a product (we don’t focus primarily on web development, but most of our clients thus far have wanted their product to be web-enabled).

This discussion launched some interesting one-off quips about development. The funniest, I now present to you. Of course there may only be 1 reader who actually gets this reference…


Technically, CodeBehind is deprecated now with the .NET 2.0 and 3.0 frameworks, but it’s still f’n funny to me (and probably other developers).

Someone needs to make a t-shirt of this… Jeff will wear it.

[tags]ASP.NET, CodeBehind, Funny[/tags]

Happiness is a warm gun

So, my birthday was mighty fine. Didn’t do much really, but that’s kinda my style.

I got calls from many of you, others left me gifts (such as Abbi’s cupcakes… Yum!), and still others I got to see in person. I thank each and every one of you. Thank you Mark and John for the Breast Buy gift certificates.

My mom called me, and as soon as I answered she broke out in singing “Happy Birthday to You”, followed by her telling me that I now know where I get my musical talent from. I couldn’t help myself when I replied, “Yeah, and so does everybody else who heard you while I had you on speaker phone…”. She asked, “Are you kidding me?”, to which I replied yes. We had a good laugh about it, and she said that it could have been really embarassing… so instead of her being on speaker phone with 1 or 2 listeners, I give her the whole world. That’s how much I love her.

Other than that, it was a pretty lax day with a little work interspersed here and there. I’d rather be at work hanging out with a few friends and do a little work, than be sitting by myself at home.

The highlight of the day was when we went to the Scottsdale Gun Club for some shootin’. Members at SGC get a free machine gun rental on their birthdays, so obviously we had to go (I missed it last year). And obviously I rented one of the coolest guns ever – the Heckler & Koch MP5. Mark and Randall came along for the thrill. Plus Randall wanted to fire off his brand new Bushmaster AR-15. I didn’t really get many pictures (ok, I took only 1 – and it’s not even of me…), but the following is what I do have.

Free Rental of MP5
This here is my sales receipt. Notice the Free rental of the MP5, 2 Free magazines,
plus 3 additional magazines so that Mark and Randall got to enjoy the experience as well.

Kills Terrorists Dead
Here we have the silhouette target from the first 75 rounds from the MP5. Yeah, it’s accurate, even at full auto.

Randall and his new AR-15
Finally, Randall enjoying the first rounds through his AR-15.

After shooting, I went for some Jack in the Box and went home for the rest of the Suns game. It was a good day. I’ll celebrate properly with the Fam this weekend, and with friends and family probably on the 24th (a joint celebration for Johnny too). Who’s in?

[tags]Birthday, Guns, Thank You[/tags]

Random Thoughts and Another Year…

Once again, it has been a while since an update. Still not ready to post about vehicles that I may or may not have… Instead, I bring you random thoughts that have occurred to me over the past few days, and perhaps a few other tidbits as well.

* I watched Stranger Than Fiction last night, and thought it was great. I had heard that the movie wasn’t anything like people generally expected (expecially with Will Ferrell as the lead), so I went into watching it without any preconceived notions about the storyline or genre. And it was excellent. I was actually inspired by this movie; inspiration is definitely something that I have been lacking over the past several months. Highly recommended. PS – I heart Maggie Gyllenhaal.

* Also worth seeing: The Departed. Not worth seeing: Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

* The new CD office is sweet. Work is busy. But at least it doesn’t get in the way of my social life (Read: None).

* I had heard Korn‘s Freak on a Leash from their eMpTV Unplugged concert on the radio a couple of times. The song features Amy Lee from Evanescence and is quite a departure from what you would expect out of Korn. But it was interesting enough that when TiVo recorded the concert (commercial free), I had to watch it. It was not bad at all. Jonathan Davis surprised me with his very decent vocals, but the best part was most definitely the orchestrations of their tunes. Not only did they have a plethora of wonderful and bizarre instruments, they had some very cool orchestrations and chord structure modifications that were worth seeing/hearing at least once (even for the casual Korn fan or general music lover).

* You know what really Grinds my Gears? American Idol. Whys they gotta have 20 AI shows a week and push new House episodes back week in and week out? I already had to go through 3 weeks without a new House episode, then one finally airs last night, only to have the next episode be shown in 3 more weeks. Lame. Speaking of poor network programming: no new Smallville for 1 month (from Feb 15th to March 15th), no new Heroes for nearly 2 months (March 5th – April 23rd… WTF), and no new Studio 60… ever? You gotta go and cancel a show that I enjoy after half a season? NBC >= Jerks. At least I still have 24, Rome, Monk and Psych (oh wait, Monk and Psych are done until this summer – grrrrr)… Entourage and The Sopranos in April (8th to be exact). Hold on… wait a sec… NEW ENTOURAGE AND SOPRANOS ON APRIL 8TH???!!!111ELEVENTYONE (whoops – capslock got stuck)

* I upgraded my blog software to version 2.1.2, so it may or may not solve some of the issues that I was having with this site. Particularly with not being able to get to the comments (or even being able to comment at all). Hopefully this upgrade will fix it. If not… I’ll take it up with my hosting provider… 😉

* Exactly one year ago today, I wrote this post… So yeah. Go me.

That’s all for now. I’ll try harder to fulfill the 2 faithful readers with more content in the VERY near future. Perhaps some pictures even…

[tags]Movies, TV, Entourage, The Sopranos, American Idol, 24, House, Monk, Heroes, Studio 60, Korn, Stranger than Fiction [/tags]