Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Practicality Rules

So as much as I love the Prius, I've decided to buy an Impreza.

At my salary, my very new salary, my very young salary, my "lowest paid assistant professor in the state salary," it makes more sense to buy the cheaper car that gets better highway mileage. That way I can drive up to the big fancy research institutions more easily, and probably pay off this car in 3 years.

I do still want a Prius. But I think it would be better for me to wait and get one when I have more money.

But the good part of it is that I think a Prius will join my family-- after the test drive my father was really impressed! So although there may not be a Prius in muse's future, there may be a Prius in muse's family, which muse would get to drive now and then.

Thanks for all your suggestions and recommendations. The Mazda 3 was also a great car, but the Subaru has four wheel drive.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Banquet of Words

In which your writer, who had the last word in the comments section of her last post, is spoon fed her words on a silver plate.

Make that a battery-powered, digitalized 60 mpg-in-the-city plate.

Yes, I test-drove a Prius yesterday. And it was FABULOUS. You just press a button and it goes. You press another button to put it in park. It has a little LCD screen that runs the whole thing. When you stop it is entirely silent. Whenever you drive under 15 mph, you can't feel it moving at all. It's the battery. And the digital positioning instead of gear shifting.

Yes, it is about $5000 more than I really wanted to spend, but a large part of it is tax deductible. And broken down, it would only cost me about $50 more per month for an extra year (5 instead of 4) to do it.

And I'd easily make that up in money I saved at the gas station. 51-59 mpg in the city! Imagine going to the gas station half as often. I can't.

I also tried the Subaru Impreza, which was a bit more Imprezzive than the Mazda 3, I found, and only about $2000 more. It has four wheel drive where the Mazda 3 doesn't (and the Mazda 3 doesn't even have Electronic Stability Control, I think). Not that I need to worry about that here in the South, but what if I wanted to drive up north to see my family in the midwest? Or further north just for the fun of it?

Tomorrow I shall test drive the Mazda 3, but I do think I've narrowed it down to the Imprezzive and the Priapus.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Car Fancy

I'm in the market for a new car.

Having bashed up the old vehicle (I'll call her Ingrid) rather too much, my insurance guys are telling me to take the check and not look back. Ingrid was old and perhaps not that trustworthy. She had a nice life but needs too many repairs for it to be worth either my while or the insurance company's while. They've bought her from me and will fix her up and sell her on their own.

Yes, this is what we call "totalling" the car.

No, I wasn't hurt nor was there much damage. Ingrid just happens to be very old, very Swedish, and very expensive to fix.

So I'm buying a new car. And suddenly I'm taking an interest in cars, seeing as I thoroughly depend upon one now to get me really anywhere in this town. I'm looking for a small hatchback with good gas mileage. Hatchback so's I can fill it with all the cheap, "previously owned" vintage and antique furniture I want.

I've pretty much narrowed the search down to the Mazda 3 and the Subaru Impreza, but if anyone has any suggestions or opinions, please do post here and let me know.

I had originally wanted a Honda Civic, a nice, dependable little sedan with the highest mpg and safety ratings on the market. My friend Nick calls it "The Assistant Professor Car." But the Civic doesn't have a 4 door hatchback, only a 2 door one. Which wouldn't be able to carry precious antiques. Then I thought about the Toyota Matrix. My parents have one. My dad calls it "The Mattress." But he complains about its lack of horsepower. And it's a bit too expensive. So I don't think I'll get a mattress. I'd rather have a car.

I have this amazing senior colleague who knows everything there is to know about cars. She's a little obsessed. It's kind of cute. She's obsessed with Renaissance drama and cars. Anyway, she thinks Subarus might be a bit pricey to repair. She seems to be rooting for the Mazda 3.

My cousin here in the South seems to think I should get the Impreza. Both his daughters drive them, and apparently his neighborhood is "The Subaru Capital of the World" so I might be able to get a good deal there.

I'm going to test drive both models and maybe a couple of others next week (the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving). I've never done this before. Anything I should look out for? What should I do on the test drive? Where should I take it? Will there be a salesperson with me pitching the car the length of the ride? I loathe salespeople. I don't want to "give poor Gil a break." I just want a car.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bare Quires

Last time I checked, it was still fall here. How bizarre! It's 71 degrees outside, the trees are flaming like drag queens, and students are trudging across the quad in tee-shirts and flip-flops. And the only "bare, ruined quier" I behold is the blank document on my laptop screen. (Check out Flavia's excellent post on "that time of year thou mayst in me behold").

I'm getting a little antsy at all this pleasant weather. Somehow it doesn't feel at all close to the end of the semester to me, because I'm not chilled to the bone. It's disconcerting. It's making it hard for me to write.

More importantly, how can I wear my new lofty merino wool funnel neck and my duffel coat with the red beret if it's 71 degrees outside? How can I feel remotely academic without a turtleneck and a steaming mug of tea? I need the cold to make me stay inside and write for hours on end. As it is, I can't sit still for more than 40 minutes at a time. I keep jumping up and running outside into the sunshine.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Anyone can take this Quiz

(Thanks to Jonathan on Superbon!).

How Canadian are you?

Like Jonathan, I scored a whopping 91%. Which means that all true Canadians must score something like 400% (it's a really easy quiz).

I think I lost the 9% because I refused to order pizza from Tim Horton's. There are just some things one does not do.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Time Keeping

There are only 5 more teaching days left in my semester.

I can't believe it.

It happened so fast.

And today, for some strange reason, it's 81/30 degrees outside. Some of the trees have lost their leaves. Others are golden, rust, and pale celery. A lot of them will stay green year round.

It's kind of shocking to think that in 3 and a half weeks I'll be done with the semester.

Then I've got December and half of January to work on sending out essay number three and an anthology proposal, as well as writing and editing my ever-changing book manuscript.

December also witnesses my trimuphal return to the Midwest, to see my totally amazing and wonderful parents and their totally amazing and rather excitable dog. And I shall catch up with all my family friends and maybe even my very oldest friend.

I'm excited about New Years' too, which I get to spend in one of my favourite cities, with clever and delightful people and the Second Most Clever and Delightful Cat (aka "Trouble"). It will be 20 Below but I Won't Care. I seem to be into capitalization At the Moment.

I just have to get through the next three and a half weeks. Teach my classes, mark my essays, buy a new car, pay my bills, and drive safely.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Fall Color

Today I did some exploring.

And a mysterious package arrived.
It was from Tashkent.

It was a lovely day for a walk.
We went all the way up to the top.

We were very careful.

The colors were beautiful for November.

There was even a waterfall.

And inside the package were more colorful things.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Commonplace Blog

I can't think of anything original to say. My brain is exhausted. I have too much work to do between now and Thanksgiving and the end of the semester.

Instead I've decided to make this into an online commonplace book until I can think of something more interesting to write about.

Last weekend I found myself leafing through a poetry anthology. It was fun.

Here are two old favorites, both of which do much with the traditional 14-line sonnet, not only formally but also in their use of light/dark imagery. Though different in subject, I still like to think they're talking to one another.

Milton, Sonnet IXX

When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask; But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."

Millay, Sonnet VII, from Second April

When I too long have looked upon your face,
Wherein for me a brightness unobscured
Save by the mists of brightness has its place,
And terrible beauty not to be endured,
I turn away reluctant from your light,
And stand irresolute, a mind undone,
A silly, dazzled thing deprived of sight
From having looked too long upon the sun.
Then is my daily life a narrow room
In which a little while, uncertainly,
Surrounded by impenetrable gloom,
Among familiar things grown strange to me
Making my way, I pause; and feel, and hark,
Till I become accustomed to the dark.