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May 4th, 2013

Another OCD day of car hunting

Why am I still awake at 11:30 pm? I don't know. I had a dream last night that I had insomnia, and found myself awake at 4:30 am looking up Dodge Dart info on my cell phone. :-(

Never did get back to sleep, thanks, and this may seem ironic or something worse but it isn't meant to be anything except honest, to Kaan hogging 3/4 of the bed and then both cats deserting me.

My PC powers up automatically at 6:30 every morning. When I heard the tune which says Windows has started, I headed for the computer room. No, wait, I only thought about doing that, I actually waited until all the apartment lights automatically power on at 7 am. The tune, by the way, is the first few bars of Go The Distance from Hercules (a French Horn fanfare of great majesty and pomp). 

Went to KBB.com (Kelly Bluebook) and then Edmunds.com and punched in for info on the Dodge Dart. What got me to the Dart is I realized this search for The Best Nav System In Cars was being done backwards. My favorite map system is Garmin, so I searched for car companies partnered with Garmin. Chrysler showed up first, but they really still are your grandfather's car, so I looked at Dodge, and even the lowly Dart can be equipped with Garmin nav with voice recognition. Voice recog extends to all the controls in the in-dash unit, including the phone, radio, iPod, CD/DVD, air conditioning and midwifery.

I sent in a "give me a quote" request, and as has happened almost every time so far, the Internet Salescreature responded later that morning with "when can I call you?" as if I had not spent half an hour selecting what stuff I wanted in the car. I replied with what I wanted, and said I would drop by after work.

Skip to after work, walked into a dealership with all the staff sitting around a table chatting with each other, no customers in sight. This is the only dealership in Silicon Valley, they represent Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Ram. It's also the oldest building, which was once a fast food place. They found the internet guy for me, he only remembered I wanted a blue car. I had to tell him I wanted mostly to demo the voice/nav system. It took a while for him to find one, and when he did, it was broken (it kept showing "loading voice recognition....please wait"). Another 5 minutes and he found one which worked, sort of. It had the very pretty Garmin maps, and he wanted to punch everything into the touch screen, but I hit the voice switch and tried some commands. They display the 12 possible commands and syntax on the screen, so it should be easy.

It wasn't.

It rarely understood what I said. Even when I was saying line numbers as in "please choose the line number of the item you want". The biggest WTF was when I said "Tune 88.5 FM" and it gave me a list of the 5 nearest pizza places.

The car itself is a heavy beastie, even with a 6-speed automatic it only gets 19 MPG city. Horrible for a compact. It's just barely easy enough to get into and out of. Sight lines are okay. Rear camera has color-coded zone lines. It probably would be clearer if they took the protective plastic off the lens. Price tag with all the features I wanted was about the same as a hybrid. Stupid design - the odometer is analog, tiny, and off to the right behind the wheel.

During the demo the rep took a personal call, switched to a dialect of Spanish which I actually was able to understand some of. Not good form, dude. In San Jose you can't expect a customer, even a Gringo, to not know Spanish. He did have the sense to step outside before completing the drug deal.

Anyway, the Dart is a non-starter.

Back to my day. Got to work at about 9, played some more with the automation scripting language and discovered some stuff which did not work as advertised. And some that did. Corp sent us email pointing to the PTO entry screen, but it would not let me log in.

Lunch was at Sizzler. I love the wings they have at the salad bar. And the clam chowder.

Got email from Fremont Chevy's Internet guy, inviting me to take a test drive of the Cruze. I replied with "How about Sunday?" because there is no way to get to Fremont before they close at 8. I figure I can spend some time at Ardenwood Farm with my camera, and head up to Chevy after the farm closes at 4.

Which reminds me, I need to figure out a way to get my Giants' ticket from dave_gallaher, since I will be going to a friend's indie movie premiere instead of BASFA Monday night. The game is Friday night.

Stopped by Safeway on the way home from Dodge, lots of people from foreign lands with more children than they had hands to keep from wandering off. Nearly ran 3 of them over with my cart. Darwin would have approved.

Dinner was microwave frozen stuff, and sensor-reheated garlic/cheese bread. I am liking this replacement replacement microwave.


Plans for tomorrow:
 
Get some sleep
Research which cars I could buy which the Kenwood will fit into. Corolla seems like a good bet.
Maybe take one more look at the Ford Focus/ C-Max?
Coffee in PA with Janice
Miss Saigon at PA Players

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