I really shouldn’t get so spun up… BUT DAMN!

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My Nike+ Fuel band is broken and needs repair. I look up the warranty and find the receipt then discover that I only have to take the fuel band down to the local Nike store and they’ll repair or replace it.

Great! I print out the receipt, and the warranty page which clearly states “To obtain in-person warranty support bring the defective product and sales receipt to a Nike retail store

Yesterday Morning, I sync the last data out of the fuel band, locking up my computer in the process.

Really?

You choose NOW to lock up? I swear I’ve done exactly this same procedure 100 times in the past 8 months and had no trouble at all.

But this time WHEN I need to get out the door, It’s a hard lockup.

Great! I sit down, disconnect all the cabling from the laptop open it, press and hold the power button then restart the system. I reconnect all the cables and boom I’m out the door.

I saddle up and drive the 45 minutes to the Nike Store.

I’m in the parking lot and heading for a parking space when a crazed bitch pops through the parking lanes does a U-turn in front of me and whips into the parking space I was pulling into then she gives ME Shit for being close to her POS car WHILE she’s talking to her phone in speaker phone mode and I’m the one who’s in the wrong…

Riiiight! I called her a bad name, I actually called her a fat assed one…

I backed up a little and went to the furthest parking spot in the freakin parking lot.

I don’t want no trouble, I just want to get into this shopping center, do my shit and get the hell out of here and home BEFORE it gets completely insane!

I hoof it to the store, wait in line and get to the cash register.

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I hand the clerk the broken fuel band and the receipt plus a printout of the warranty… then ask him “who should I talk to about this?”

He looks at the warranty paper then goes to get someone else. OK Fine…

The new guy looks at the warranty paper and the receipt and says “you bought this in December from Nike”

I’m starting to get a bad feeling but I figure nope, I’ll be nice.

“Yep direct from Nike. The button is broken I just need to exchange it. Under warranty which is 1 year and we’re not there yet.”

He says, “We’re supposed to get them in tomorrow.”

Which begs the questions I think to myself “You’ve never had them in the first place?” or “Is this just a way to get me out of the store”

He continues, “To do the exchange we need to have all the parts that came with it.”

Now I’m sure this is a delay tactic. But I think to myself I’ve still got the original box, and the parts and accessories I can pack ’em all up and come back tomorrow.

I point out that the band is the failure point and that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to just have a big box of the bands without their clasps in the back room and simply do a replacement from that stock. Just swap the customers clasp right there in the store it would take 2 minutes tops and would prevent the bands in the back from being pilfered since they’d fall off without the clasp mechanism.

But THAT would of course be too freakin intelligent. 

Ok, I’m annoyed… but not ticked off. 

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I head out to my car and sure as shit, there’s a rusted out POS parked crooked and so close that I can’t open my drivers door.

Fine! I crawl into the passengers side and squirm my way into the drivers seat. It’s 97F outside. Inside the car it’s well beyond that.

I fire the beast up and hit MAX on the A/C then pull out of the parking lot.

I have one more stop to make. I need to deposit a couple of checks at the credit union. I head toward them, make a right, make another right, then make a left into a shady parking spot. SCORE!!!

Go inside, stand in line… and stand…. and stand… and stand. WTH?

Only Two tellers and both of them occupied with two crazy women. One demanding that the money be recounted (6th time) “‘cause she be knoin she gave dat teller another $40” at one teller window and at the other window the woman is explaining her boyfriends access to the various accounts and that she thinks he’s cheating on her and she needs to get herself some money that aint his money… 

At which point my eyes and ears are starting to bleed.

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I’m wondering if the ATM would be a better option when miracle of miracles a third teller appears at the counter and waves the guy in front of me over. Progress! My eyes and ears are still bleeding. But I might make it out of the credit union before 9PM this evening.

Finally my turn, I hand the teller my endorsed checks, I swipe my ATM card and enter my PIN (Might as well have done the ATM thing) and tell him I want to deposit these checks and get $100 in cash. And that’s when it all fell down…

He looks at the checks, and then logs out of his computer. “Please wait, I’ll be right back…” 

ZIP he’s over conversing with a woman that looks like she put the whole lemon forest in her mouth. After 5 minutes the young guy comes back.

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I ask him what the problem was… He couldn’t read the first word of the spelled out amount… Sigh…

I remind him about wanting the hundred back. Then I’m done… Out the door and across the parking lot I see… a POS parked too close to my passenger door and an orange cone near my drivers door. WTF?

Oh the orange cone is from the mobile car wash guy who’s working on a Mercedes and has gotten my car with the water as he rinsed the Mercedes. He’s looking at me with fear in his eyes.

I guess by rights I could demand a free car wash but the poor guy looks so sorry, hot, & tired, I don’t have the heart. Besides my car is filthy the most he did was add to the water spots already in the dust on my hood. Big Deal!

It’s 99F when I get in the car. I’m on the road again heading North. 18 Wheelers are taking up 3 of the 3 lanes and not giving anyone a break as we inch along toward the freeway.

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Eventually the 18 wheelers manage to take up only 2/3 of the available lanes, me along with everyone else squirts through the opening and ahead into open lanes. Shortly though several cars are playing Indy 500 pace cars and we’re all crawling along catching every light.

Grrrr….

Finally the Freeway! Zip… I’m on cruising and all is well. I come up on Day Creek there’s enough room for 2 cars between me and the guy in front of me. The two cars merge perfectly and get on the freeway without problem. I’m watching the traffic as we approach the I-15 Northbound it bunches up in this area and it’s not uncommon for someone to realize they need to get on the i-15 and they’re not in the correct lane. This results in someone sailing across 6 lanes of traffic and further increase in the backup around the transition.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a white infinity SUV ON MY RIGHT! There’s either no lane or they’re about to run out of lane but they’re accelerating! There’s no room ahead of me, what the hell are they doing?

I’ve been moving at the same speed neither faster or slower there’s 1/4 mile of open road behind me and this dumbass has accelerated and is trying to force herself in to a space that is too small for her bloated ass and why is she doing this anyway?

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I’ve got nowhere to go, I can’t change lanes, and I figure the minute I touch my brakes so will she and we’ll still have a deadlock.

I keep moving at the same speed and hope she figures out that her best choice is to drop behind me like a good little BITCH and stop trying to cause an accident.

I momentarily think of the relative values of our vehicles and her probable impact point on my car, Yep! It would be her fault and I’d sue the fucking hell out of her. But nah… I just want to go home.

So I accelerate a bit to get out of her way because I still have nowhere to go… and the dumb bitch accelerates too!

Now it’s insane! She finally drops behind me as she should have done in the fucking first place and gets on the freeway.

As she takes the faster lane next to me another little bitch…

(I’m thnking a much worse word that is prefaced with Rancid, Diseased, Dried up, and ends with the bad word)

…in the passenger seat flips me off with her $90 manicured nails and enough diamonds on her fingers to make Xerxes I of Persia jealous.

I can’t stop myself, I safely signal and change lanes, I pull my phone out of it’s holster and snap a picture of them from behind.

NOW is when they get concerned that maybe, just maybe, they’ve pulled the wrong fucking guys chain. They speed off and I change lanes back to the slow lane to make the transition home.

You know, I just want to go about my life, It shouldn’t be an ordeal every fucking time I leave my driveway.

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This is one of the reasons that I’ve wanted to leave California for the last 5 years. I’ve actually wanted to leave this state for about the last 20 years but you make sacrifices for your significant other. The last 5 years however have made me want to be somewhere else I’m almost to the point of ANYWHERE else.

When do I get to go someplace that’s civilized?

I couldn’t help but think as I was finally heading home about that old saying “an armed society is a polite society” and that California is mostly disarmed now days.

Then there was the usual bullshit going up the I-15.

I’m going to get a sign to post in the back window of my vehicles, it’s going to read;

HEY DUMBASS!

It’s a simple rule…

SLOWER TRAFFIC TO THE RIGHT!

I finally get home. I’m hungry, spun-up and what should have been an hour errand at most, turned into a 3 hour tour. I think that’s going to be a new saying for me. “example, Then I was on a Gilligan – Something that should have been over far sooner than it actually was.

I’m pissed off and storming so I sit down at my computer.

Logic, rationality, and calmness are what I’m craving.

I click on my browser, I want to look at some settings on the blog and maybe read the news.

The computer locks up… again… I have absolutely no control…

REALLY??????

AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!

I need a drink!

YES…BMW Drivers are aggressive (Often Justifiably so)

I saw this and thought it’s about time I wrote about my conversion to an aggressive driver.

I’ve always been a “Decisive” driver.

My friend M trusts no-one driving, but will fall asleep as a passenger in my car. That probably ties back to us turning off of Sherman Way on to DeSoto one night.

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Right after we made the turn probably 30 yards up De Soto there were two cars full of teen agers STOPPED dead in both lanes, having a conversation.

I was a teen ager at the time, but even then I thought “These people are fucking stupid!”

I mean they’d stopped completely out of sight until you made the turn and yet they’d parked close enough that once you completed the turn you had no time to react.

I concluded two things. 1) My little Datsun B-210 was narrow enough to fit in the space between the two stopped cars, and 2) I couldn’t stop if I wanted to.

So I didn’t. We sailed between the two cars interrupting the moronic conversation of the occupants and kept on going. To this day I don’t know what the hell they did after we passed, I really didn’t care.

I’m hoping that my sailing between them taught them a lesson. Hopefully… have your damn conversation in a driveway, parking lot, or in front of your home, NOT on a main street. I doubt it…

I still smile at the memory of the stunned look M gave me. I don’t recall him saying much of anything at the time. Perhaps it was because we both had to pee so bad.

After that M would fall asleep if it was a late night, and I’d done the driving.

I’m a fast driver, I like to move and I don’t have any patience for bullshit games on the road.

Perhaps it’s because I recognize the physics of driving a 1500Lb (or greater) car at 65 miles per hour (or greater) and what happens if you try to violate rules of physics.

The germane one in this conversation being momentum, and the Newtonian principal “Every object in uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.” 

Translation… Sure, the car may stop on impact… but the objects in the car continue on at 65+ miles per hour… at least until they smack into the dash, or windshield.

Momentum is a stone bitch! All that energy has to go somewhere and I prefer that it not get translated into my body in less than a tenth of a second.

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I suppose that part of my driving style is due to my Father, he liked to go fast.

Part of my style is from drivers ed, back when the teacher with the biggest balls was actually in a car… with a student driver.

Those cars were custom jobs manufactured explicitly for drivers ed classes with driver controls replicated in the passenger seat.  One of the big 3 in Detroit, either donated or provided at substantial discount to the schools.

You know back in the day when you didn’t have to worry about a lawyer crawling out of the slime to sue if little Johnny slammed his finger in the door of the school drivers ed car. Lawyers! Don’t get me started on Lawyers!

I learned to drive in rain, slush, and snow. We sometimes even practiced a little bit on icy surfaces in the school parking lot. Nothing too serious but enough to show us by example how dangerous icy roads could be.

I learned defensive driving. There used to be PSAs on TV about how important Defensive Driving was and where you could get information about becoming a defensive driver.

The principal is simple, PAY ATTENTION! Keep a decent following distance, be courteous, don’t obstruct traffic, watch the traffic ahead and look for patterns. We were taught to watch for tell tales like smoke coming from someones tire. (A signal of imminent blowout)

If there was a lot of sudden activity ahead of you, brake lights, and odd motions from other vehicles, SLOW DOWN. The odds were something was in the road that you couldn’t see.

If you’re in the slow lane maintain space in front of you to allow oncoming traffic space to merge. In other words don’t cut people off.

The reverse was that if you were getting on the freeway, merge into the space other drivers provided DON’T accelerate to force your way in between two cars trying to get one stinking car ahead.

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There are a ton of other common sense rules that few, if anyone in California or anywhere obeys anymore. But these are the rules that I was taught to drive with and still apply today… To a point.


My Friend M has driven BMWs for years. Shortly after he got his first BMW I noticed that he was really aggressive, and as time went on he became more so.

It was a nice car, but I didn’t think he needed to be an ass. On a lovely trip to Hawaii I must admit his driving was scary aggressive.

He’d just completed a BMW driver training class at Willow Springs Raceway, however a rental POS Ford escort is not in any way a BMW. The roads on the Big Island of Hawaii while encircling the island… are not in any way a race track.

I noticed that the aggression leveled out and M is and always has been a fast, safe, excellent driver. So I figured this was a holdover from some of the track days he’d been enjoying at Willow Springs. I never really attributed it to BMW-jerk syndrome.

Years passed. I went through a few cars mostly due to driving the hell out of them going to and from work everyday.

Then one year I decided I wanted a Mini Cooper S.

I ordered it, 6 months later I picked it up and began customizing it.

When I had it in for service, Invariably I got a nice BMW 3 Series as a loaner car.

That’s when I first noticed an interesting phenomena.

I’d have trouble pulling out of the dealership. The BMW worked just fine but people would change lanes to make sure I couldn’t safely make a right out of the dealerships driveway.

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I mean, they’d change lanes and start pacing another car for no apparent reason.

The first time it happened I thought I was just having a strange day because I needed to get to work and was impatient to get a move on.

Subsequent times when I had a BMW loaner I noticed things like people pacing me, or when I signaled to change lanes on the freeway people would accelerate into my blind spot and sit there obstructing any ability to change lanes and often preventing my exit from the freeway.

I started noticing people tailgating more frequently and much closer. There were folks who would change lanes without a signal, often with less than a car length in front of me then slam on their brakes for no reason. If I wasn’t driving defensively I’d have hit them.

People would toss crap out their windows in front of me. The remnants of cokes and water bottles. This would happen a lot  on some of the freeways I traveled in LA and the Inland Empire. (The modern equivalent of flinging poo?)

At first I thought it was me. Perhaps it was the way I was driving, but if I drove my Explorer I had no trouble.

When I was in the Mini I had no problems either.

Except for one very notable occasion on the 210 when I passed someone in the fast lane and they got upset. I never did figure out what their problem was, but when three beat up pickup trucks towing rusty trailers started playing games in formation and obviously boxing me in then squeezing into my lane one night, I called 911.

I truly feared for my life and after topping 110 to escape these trucks I transitioned to a freeway going away from home instead of toward home. I got off the freeway then pulled into a parking lot and waited for the shakes to subside. The CHP never bothered to show up… even though I was fairly screaming at the 911 operator that I was very afraid and needed help. In the end, I escaped by my own wits, speed and being able to outmaneuver the aggressors.

I chalked that one up to some kind of road rage, or “Hey lets screw around with the little car“.


My beloved Mini was damaged beyond repair when the house burned.

My Mini was serviced by a BMW dealership, this is true of most Minis. After the fire I was dealing with the service people at the dealership that had done all the service and upgrades on my Mini.

The dealer service manager arranged an appointment for me to come in to explain to me and show me why my Mini was totaled. After delivering the bad news and the insurance adjusters report the service manager marched me upstairs to fleet sales and said, “This customer needs a new car.” (Great sales technique… and actually kind because I was completely broken hearted.)

I found that I couldn’t get another Mini, at least not in the time I had, with the options I wanted. Custom ordering a car is a ton of fun but not if you don’t have a few months to wait.

The bright spot was that a brand new BMW with all the options I wanted and in a price range I could afford was arriving at Long Beach Harbor in 2 days. Yes, Direct from “der Vaterland“, Leipzig to be exact.

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I explained that I’d thought about this particular model as a replacement for the Mini but that plan was supposed to be several years off.

The fleet manager tossed me the keys to her demo and told me to go have some fun. I did… a few hours later I came back and told her “I want one”.

She just smiled. “Yep, I figured you’d say that. I’m going to have to snag it from a friend but he owes me one.”

Two days later I was the proud owner of a new BMW.


My conversion to the dark side began immediately.

I hadn’t even gotten on the freeway and I had a guy accelerate to cut me off leaving the dealership driveway.

I got to the freeway then took my new beast home. Thankfully it was mid afternoon and traffic was fairly light. I got home without incident.

The next day I took photos of my new baby in the driveway of the rental house. (Photos which I can’t seem to lay my hands on right at the moment.)

It was a spectacular weekend, unfortunately I didn’t have anyplace I really wanted to go. There’s nothing like a new convertible on a sunny weekend. But  i was content to have the new car safely in the garage.

Going to work on Monday was the first of a series of adventures that resulted in my BMW induced aggression.

Let me explain.

Paper plate BMWs are targets… it’s just that simple.

At first I thought is was folks trying to eye the new model. This was the first year the 1 series was in production. Soon it was obvious that people was taking more than a passing interest in the new model.

As I got closer to South LA, people appeared to be getting more aggressive. No, that’s too nice. These people were outright hostile.

Believe me… I didn’t want to get a scratch on this beastie. I was trying to get to the credit union so they’d finance the rest of my purchase.

What started to become insanely questionable was, IF I was going to get to the credit union without being run off the road or involved in and accident.

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Clearly driving normally wasn’t cutting it. I tried slowing down and moving into the slow lane.

No joy… just made it worse, because now I was dealing with people getting on the freeway and for all the world acting like they were trying to make me hit them.

You know 300 horsepower is really a lot of power.  I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that if you’re not where someone strikes, they can’t hit you.

The cars’ HP and the philosophy led me inexorably to… “Lets see what the twins can do. Followed by a hearty… Whee!”

And I was gone…

The Ultimate Driving Machine AKA the Aryan SuperCar purred then zipped out of the slow lane into traffic.

This action left the grinning idiot in the rusted out POS Honda CRX with the farty exhaust system almost hitting the stopped garbage truck in front of him.

The idiot had been doing his best to either impact my passenger door or make it look like I hit him.

When I accelerated away he also accelerated trying to keep up with me… OOOOppps The garbage truck wasn’t moving quite as fast.

My heart bled for him. Really, it did there was even a tear!

Back then, I thought perhaps it was just another manic day and traffic was a little stranger than usual.

My beast & I arrived at the credit union intact & unscathed, the financing went off without a hitch.

Going home from work that night there were other incidents and close calls mostly where people would just cut in front of me without a signal then lock their brakes up. The Ultimate Driving Machine has excellent brakes and an even more impressive ABS system.


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Within a week I’d come to the conclusion that it wasn’t just a manic day or week, and that it wasn’t my driving. If I was in the Explorer, which had by this time just been resurrected from burns and damage it had suffered in the fire, there were no incidents.

If I was in the BMW it was inevitable that at least 2 or 3 times during the commute someone would accelerate to cut me off, force their way onto or off of a freeway causing me to have to brake hard or they’d simply prevent me from changing lanes.

I got into the habit of not using my signals on the 91 or 405 freeways anywhere West of Bellflower.

It was just easier not to give someone the heads up that I wished to change lanes or get off the freeway. It seemed that whenever I did signal… there would always be someone ready and willing to make a simple lane change on my part as difficult as possible.

As time went on, I found myself driving fast, maneuvering through slower traffic like a hunting wolf through the forest. I’m far more aggressive today than I used to be. I was a moving target alright, the faster moving the better!

I’ve actually had people hanging out of the window of their vehicles with cameras and camera phones snapping pictures of me driving on the freeway with the top down. All of this going on at 75MPH on a freeway, with even the driver of the other vehicle taking pictures.

Do you have any questions about why I’ll do my level best to stay away from other cars and people?

I haven’t gotten to the point that I’m running through pedestrian crossings.

I do have little patience for people that step down, back up, then down, then up then step in front of the car when I’ve decided they aren’t actually going to cross the street. That’s not car dependent… it’s ALWAYS! I’ve always had a short fuse about that kind of thing. Make up your mind and let all of us get on with our lives!

Oh and as an aside, a pedestrian is expected to CROSS the road not meander at an oblique angle across all traffic lanes as so many people do these days in shopping center parking lots.

Even in parking lots if I park in the furthest corner of a lot, when I come back there will be at least two cars parked badly on either side of mine. They’re usually beaters and badly parked. I have no idea what the hell thats about.

There can be 1000 other empty spaces and yet a beat to hell POS will be parked so close and crooked in the slot next to me that I can’t open my car door. I’ve actually had to put the top down just to be able to get in the car when I wanted to leave.

All of which is to say that there is a great deal more to BMW drivers being “Jerks” than is discussed in the piece that started me down this path.


I believe there is a pervasive thought process in many folks who do not drive BMWs that take one of maybe three paths. 

1 That person is rich and If I can force them to hit me I can score big time.

2 That person is flaunting their money & power and I don’t like them because they obviously have more than I do. I’m going to screw with them as payback.

3 That person thinks they’re entitled and I’m going to prove to them they’re not. (Prius drivers)

I’m not sure that any of these paths are on a conscious level.

The BMW driver on the other hand is thinking

1 OH shit don’t hit me, I just got the car back from the last accident where the other guy wasn’t insured. My insurance company will triple my rates if that car, or that car, or that car, or that POS gardening truck hits me, or drops a weed eater on my hood.

2 Please, I don’t want to race you… just go! I’m really content to cruise right here in the next to slow lane.

3 Alright, this has gotten just way too dangerous. Time to light it up! (Thats when the BMW driver breaks for daylight topping 100 MPH to get away from the insanity.) AKA Jerk Mode

I’ll admit that there are BMW drivers out there that are without a doubt, dumbasses. I absolutely believe that Teenagers and new drivers shouldn’t be driving BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Land Rover, Corvettes, or Lexus.

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Many of these cars are built for performance and it’s a lot easier to get into trouble a lot faster with them.

I shudder to think what I’d have been like as an 18 year old with a BMW.

The Datsun and later the Mazda Wagon was by far a better choice (Thanks Mom & Dad!) I had enough speeding tickets in those two vehicles!

I can think of a few ethnicities / genders that you must avoid at all costs in shopping center parking lots because they will run through pedestrian crosswalks without stopping. And yes, they are often driving BMWs.

A fairly recent immigrant friend of mine summed it up this way, “Dude, you gotta remember that last year those folks were shitting in a hole. This year they’re driving BMW and Mercedes Benz. What do you expect?

He went on to explain that where he came from, the warlords, corrupt rich generals, and the obscenely wealthy, aka powerful all drove BMW and Mercedes. The rest of the people walk…

So the first thing people from his former country do when they get here, is buy one of those two cars. Even if they can’t drive, they still have one in the driveway. It’s a symbol to them of prestige.

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And maybe that’s part of the problem…

A lot of folks come here still holding onto the “old country” ways. The new “Haves” (via loan documents) reinforce their self esteem by purchasing their former enemies symbol of power.

The really poor have nots demonstrate their hatred of those symbols unconsciously in ways they never could have in the old country.

The anonymity provided in their cars allows them to take their pound of flesh so to speak, by acting out against the symbols of their former oppressors. Sort of like flinging Yak shit after the evil generals car once he’s turned the corner out of your village.


My conversion is complete. I’ve embraced my inner asshole.

After the first year with my car, I came to the conclusion that the only way to survive was to stay away from the morons.

So Today… I drive fast, I plan my path, I maneuver, I’m impatient, I will not put up with morons playing pace cars at 65 miles an hour, Get the hell out of the way because I don’t want to be involved in your accident. Get off your phone, stop texting, if you want to do 40 fine! Get into the slow lane, or off the freeway.

Trucks, secure your loads, I’ll call your company and I’ll demand repayment for damage that your rocks, sand, and debris does to my car. I’ll take pictures and then send those photos to your supervisors complete with date, time, and GPS coordinates. I worked hard for my nice car and you don’t have the right to fuck it up due to your carelessness or laziness.

I will stop for pedestrians. Especially if I can figure out what the hell the pedestrian is doing. If I can’t figure it out, and there’s another way to go I will. Or I’ll wait annoyed because one person is thoughtlessly taking up my time and the time of all the other drivers stuck behind me, while they wander in the traffic lanes of a shopping center looking for their car.

I won’t generally tailgate. Although there are some people who think that two car lengths isn’t enough space between them and a BMW but they’ll have no problem with a KIA 6 feet off their rear bumper. (Folks… it’s tap the brake pedal to flash your brake lights… NOT SLAM ON YOUR BRAKES TO ELIMINATE THE FOLLOWING DISTANCE!)

I took my car on a nice road trip last year. Once I was 80 miles outside of California, all the sudden the rules of the road,  courtesy, & respect, were back in effect. It was nice to just be able to set the cruise control, drive and enjoy the sights.

It was also an amazing relief to be able to turn off the “Jerk” mode. I’m wanting to take a road trip this fall but it’s looking more and more like that’s not going to happen. I was looking forward to turning off “Jerk” mode again and just enjoying the car & sights.


I guess maybe I am a “Jerk”

I love my BMW.

It’s the fourth car I’ve felt this way about.

It’s comfortable, fast, quiet, and looks good.

For me, who commonly puts 300,000 miles on a vehicle it’s about having something that will last. BMWs are renown for lasting so it’s about value for my dollar, not prestige.

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Believe me… when I have to pay for Gasoline, Service, or Tires, I do rethink my choice.

But then I get into my car and it’s comfortable and paid for. It’s a lot easier to overlook the costs. I hit the ignition and think yeah… worth every penny.

If you’re passed in California by something the looks like a small blackhole doing warp 9, don’t bother to wave or flip me off.

I won’t notice and I don’t care. I’m focused on getting past the obstructions (like you) to my destination without an incident.

Don’t try to follow, don’t get in the way, don’t try to challenge me with your flatulent 4 cylinder rustbucket. I probably won’t notice you because…

My conversion to BMW “Jerk” is complete.

I call Bullshit on Oil Companies

An article in the Christian Science Monitor talking about the gas prices in California has really convinced me of a couple of things. Read the article here

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First, I’ve come to believe that the oil companies USE California as a test bed to see how the public will respond to ever increasing gas prices. They raise the prices till the bitching gets really loud and the people of California start demanding hearings in congress.

Then the oil companies back the prices down after apologizing and giving some lame ass excuse.

At the same time they’ve modeled how fast the gas prices can go up before people start really bitching. Then they halve that rate of increase and apply it to the rest of the country. But… and this is the interesting thing… The cost of gas never returns to it’s “Pre-Crises” value.

If the crises is over why doesn’t the cost return to the previous level?

Second, California environmental regulations play directly into the hands of the oil companies. Fully .50 of every gallon of gas is nothing but state taxes. Which means that even those people in California trying to pay attention to the actual price of a gallon of gas have to separate out the state, county, and city taxes on the price per gallon and since those rates are all over the map depending on where you fill up in your 4 hour commute per day you may have all or only one or two of those additional fees.

Southern California is particularly vulnerable to this kind of manipulation. Because the mass transit system SUCKS!

Yes… the politicians would have you believe that mass transit in Southern California is wonderful…

But the reality is; If you happen to live in the Inland Empire (Pomona, Glendora, San Dimas, Riverside, Ontario, Corona, San Bernardino, or Fontana) and you work by necessity in Orange County or Los Angeles you’re kinda screwed. If you live in Orange County and work in LA you’re just as screwed.

 Taking a train to Orange County is pretty much pointless because after you’ve gotten there the transit system is unreliable as hell and you’re talking busses or calling a taxi… there’s nothing else. If you’re trying to get from OC to LA that’s an expensive and painful trip via train, provided you don’t get a message like this;

Trip Options

TripMaster found NO trip(s) leaving from ORANGE COUNTY AIRPORT to LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. You are traveling on Saturday and Leaving at 12:12PM . Fare class: Regular. Max walk: 1/3 Mile. Mode: ANY. Try changing walking DISTANCE or travel TIME or MODE or FILTERING. Make sure the locations are correct.

Getting to LA from the Inland Empire via train isn’t that bad then you can grab a metro rail (like the “L” in Chicago but not elevated) the problem is that using the train/metro rail system/bus can literally add hours to your commute and god help you if you have to work late, or you have a swing shift you might get to work but you can’t get home.

Essentially, the people of Southern California are faced with spending 5 or 6 hours commuting via train versus 4 hours commuting via their cars. Which would you choose, given that you do want to spend some time with your loved ones. You’d like to see your children and perhaps have an opportunity to have sex. Then there’s the issue of maybe trying to work out and get some exercise.

I know… I’ve done that madness for years! Give me my car not because I like sitting on the freeway but because I like getting home before 10PM.

The point is the Oil companies have a mostly captive audience.

Los Angeles, Orange County, The Inland Empire are these wonderful petri dishes where Big Oil can float higher gas prices and see just what kind of lame assed excuses the moronic public will accept.

The article I referenced above says that three factors are driving the cost of gas up in California.

1) State refineries have lowered production as they get ready to switch to “winter blend” (This is all about California regulations and pollutions controls. It also causes excessive wear & tear on our engines and a commensurate drop in our MPG. So we’re at the gas stations more often buying more shitty gas.) This is a yearly event and yet… The Oil companies always shut the refineries down at the same time. How about this MORONS? Try scheduling one refinery at a time being shut down then when it’s switched to winter blend, and running again take the next one offline to make the switch and so on. You can do the same damn thing when you switch to Summer Blend so you don’t screw the hell out of the public as they’re trying to get set for their paltry 2 week vacations. (Don’t forget it’s not just Gas. It’s also Airline fuel, and diesel that are suddenly in short supply twice a year.)

2) A power outrage at a Torrance Refinery, and partial shutdown at a Richmond refinery. Really? Just how long was the refinery without power? Months? I think not… And why is the Richmond refinery partially offline?

3) Several refineries in the Central Valley have been shutdown for weeks because of “High Organic Chloride Levels in the Crude”.  SAY WHAT??? So what exactly does that mean? Are they shipping the High Organic Chloride crude to another refinery? Are they throwing it away? What EXACTLY does that mean?

 SO I call BULLSHIT on Big Oil and think that everyone else should too.

Time to BITCH LOUD LONG and HARD

Write your representatives and demand the oil companies stop fucking with us. 

Off to write a letter to politicians

Because I’m not going to pay 4.99 a gallon for gas. Oh and don’t even try to make me say “Oh goodie” about 4.99 a gallon by pointing out that Europe is over $8 per gallon.

Big Deal! So What? 52% of their oil isn’t coming from under their feet.

Don’t even mention a Prius, or accuse me of driving a gas guzzler. I’ll give you an earful that will feel like an ice pick through your brain.

 

And my car is done

It’s been a good but very expensive week.

The car turned out very nice.

Before

In the before and after photos, you can see the difference. I also had the front grill changed out from the normal BMW chrome to a Black Chrome. It was one of those situations where since they were going to have the bumper off the car and disassembled to do the repainting, I saved myself the labor charges by having the grills swapped out now rather than waiting to do it later.

I’ve always liked the look of black trim. Before, the only chrome on the car other than the roundels was the grill. The dealer had parked my beastie in the service bay nose out (very nice). And I’m sure that more than a few men dropping off their cars were thinking “Hummmm, I wonder how much that costs?”

Overall I like the look a lot more. Somehow this simple little change makes a big difference in the look of the car. It comes across leaner, & more aggressive. Now I just hope it’s not too aggressive otherwise I’m going to be attracting the attention of the CHP.

 

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One more picture, then it’s off to deal with the rest of the stuff I have to do today.

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Busy day today

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Dropping the car off to have the front end repainted AGAIN!

Then off to EDD to stand in line so that I can actually speak with a human being instead of playing in their  telephone system and never getting anywhere.

I still can’t believe that after 5 hours of dialing, the best I could get was into their automated system only far enough for them to say they couldn’t talk to my right now and then they hung up.

It’s an effective system if you don’t want to deal with the public.

I’m planning to have the laptop with me so If there’s any time I’ll be trying to write. that is as long as the hives keep clearing and I’m not being driven mad by the itching.

Yesterday, there was a “Come to Jesus” meeting with the godbrat. He’s been doing shit like starting a load of clothing then saying that he’s going on an errand, Only to be gone all night leaving wet clothes sitting in the washer. It’s gotten under the other halfs skin because it’s just plan rude. 

I don’t like the saying “I’m going on an errand” which leaves the expectation that he’ll be back in an hour or two only to have him show up the next day. To me that’s on the raggedy edge of lying. It’s not fair, not acceptable, and honestly… if he was doing stuff like this at home I totally get why his step-mom was getting pissed off about it.

I honestly don’t think it’s malicious, the kid has all the attention span of a gnat. I can see how it would piss someone off because it’s essentially a cock block situation.

SO we’ll see if the “Come to Jesus” meeting has any effect.

Frankly I didn’t feel up to having the talk… I was itchy and irritated. That would have been a bad combination especially since I already have trouble knowing when to stop.

Hope everyones day is a good one.

Off to the races…

More Car Service

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At the car dealership… Again!

One of the problems with modern cars… although I think the problem is more about the people servicing modern cars is that the computer in the car dictates what service can be done and when.

For example, I know I’m taking a trip that will have me driving at least 3000 miles. 

As in the old days… I still like to have the car serviced, tires checked, oil changed, you know BEING RESPONSIBLE so that I don’t have a dead ass piece of junk off to the side of the road in the middle of an unfamiliar town and not knowing who to call or perhaps being uncertain of exactly where I am so that I can get help.

Well the computers have other ideas… Apparently, you’re not supposed to drive your car more than 300 miles from home. 

See last time I was here I explicitly told the dealership I was going on a long trip. So I wanted all services done before I left.

I didn’t have to worry about my trip being interrupted by the car bitching about service needed. Unfortunately, the computer and the people doing the service had other ideas. The computer said that 4300 miles remained before the next service. Between the time that I had the car in for service and today… I’ve driven 600 miles. The car is now saying it wants service in 2200 miles. Hummm…. Can you see the problem?

See, I know the car… I know the kind of driving I do, I know that going up & down the mountain puts a monkey wrench in the mileage calculation. But try to explain that to a machine… or the people that act like machines.

I’ll grant you there are benefits to the computerization of our vehicles. You don’t have as many situations where your spouse says “I didn’t know I needed an oil change, or I didn’t hear the squealing of the brake calipers on the rotors”

But as I say all too often… I’M THE HUMAN, you’re the machine… do what I said.

So here I sit… waiting for another 3 hours for my car to be serviced. Those 3 hours… By the way would be mine… If folks had done what I asked in the first place.

Isn’t that a kick in the pants… It always seems to come down to:

Do what I’m telling you