It Doesn’t Count Unless You Can Pull Back Out

We imagine we’re supposed to be impressed by 1) Sliding into a parking spot with less than six inches to spare, 2) Japanese drivers subverting the stereotype, and 3) Minis being good for something besides subway chases. But it strikes us that if you’re going to declare a world record for “parallel parking”, one of the conditions needs to be that you’re free to leave.

[via Nerdist]

The day I can’t parallel park is the day I pack it in.

So, car freaks, I am in the market for a cheapie, and am thinking about a Fiat 500… whadda think? Good choice?

I just love the Mini-Cooper – – I just can’t figure out why.

@Tommmcatt May Just Have Some MJ In His System As Well, So What?: Good choice – make sure it has side curtain airbags. Also check out the new Dodge Dart – it’s basically an Alfa Giulietta underneath and should be a blast to drive. As for Minis, the clutch is undersized for the engine.

And check out the new Ford Fiesta – award-winning in Europe. And the Honda Civic.

@BobCens: Silent Creative Partner also loves the Mini, once going so far as to repaint his Geo to look like one. So there’s an inside joke lurking here.

@Tommmcatt: You might go for a pre-owned Mazda Miata if you need a super fun car for around-town daily driving on a budget. It is impossible to look butch in one of those however.

@Tommmcatt: I had a new Ford Focus as a rental recently, and I was impressed. It felt very high quality–like some Volvo goodness rubbed off on the brand–however, it has several infomation display screens that I found distracting and not all that informative.

@¡Andrew!: Depends on where you live – Miata is rear drive and thus horrible in snow.

@blogenfreude: Shouldn’t be a problem in Hell-LAy.

But what would a total baller on a budget drive?

@¡Andrew!: Unless you hit the Grapevine or Big Bear or Wrightwood during the winter and learn the Shocking! truth that it snows in Southern California.

@nojo: Are those bars in WeHo?

Add: It’s probably not snow flying around.

Grapevine or Big Bear or Wrightwood

@¡Andrew!: oh, hell yeah. Asian boys love shiny.

@blogenfreude: Haha, snow. That is something that happens to other people.

@blogenfreude: What do you think of the Chevy Volt? I drove on the Bay Bridge yesterday next to a brand new one with paper plates and I liked it. The only issue for me is that I don’t have a garage or an electrical source to charge it – I guess I could run a few extension cords from the house to the street? ;-P

@¡Andrew!: Why does everyone in that damn movie say YOU-gene when it’s You-GENE?

But nice overhead shots of Valley River. I used to live near the bridge in the foreground.

ADD: “The Blade” menswear store at Valley River was originally “The Gay Blade”. Not sure why they changed it.

@nojo: Speaking of You-GENE, this just bounced in to my in-box:

Hello [SFL],

Last year you stopped by the Eugene, Cascades & Coast – Travel Lane County booth at the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park, CA.

[umm, no. I subscribe to Sunset magazine, though]

Focusing on our outdoor adventures – hiking, camping, kayaking, skiing, cycling, mountain biking, fishing and more –

[more adventures like all the weed Mr. SFL smoked before going to the nasty ass Taco Bell by campus?]

we’re thrilled to share with you authentic experiences, from the Cascade Mountains to the Oregon Coast, a day’s drive north on I-5. Of course, there’s also great shopping (tax free!),

[fucking losers from Vancouver, WA go to Portland and from Eureka to Brookings]

delicious restaurants,

[see Taco Bell-Eugene above]

quaint wineries [okay yes, hello Mr. Cynica]

as well as distinctive museums.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend this Saturday and Sunday. We will be with our Oregon friends from Central Oregon, Southern Oregon and Travel Oregon.

[Parrr-taaaayyy in Menlo Park!]

Look for us at booth # 428. Stop by for a taste of Oregon chocolates and wines, take home a package of seeds…or just to say hello! Enter our drawing to win a trip to Eugene, Cascades & Coast.

[Nojo, you could win an all-expenses paid trip to the homeland!]

Bring this email – or – show us on your smart phone and receive a little Thank You gift!

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!

[So many exclamation points!!!! Eugene in Menlo Park! wheee!]

Meg & Samara

[Samara is a name that seems so, I don’t know, ethnic for Eugene.]

@SanFranLefty: a day’s drive north on I-5

Yeah, like 8-10 hours, presuming the Siskiyous aren’t snowed in…

Even contemplating the more delightful drive south, it wasn’t a casual undertaking — you had to plan five days to make the two long days of driving worth the trouble.

Also, I think that’s the campus Taco Time in the movie, later replaced by Taco Bell. Not sure, however — night shot.

Also: Jane Curtin was the headliner, but there’s Dabney Coleman, Richard Benjamim, Fred Willard, and Jessica Lange. Too bad they all suck.

@nojo: Don’t hate on Dabney Coleman – “9 to 5” is such a classic movie.

@SanFranLefty: Not hating on him at all — he’s just horribly misused here, as are the rest. The movie is much better cast than written.

@nojo: It’s not You-gene? Whoops.

Despite the flaws, I found the film to be fun, breezy, light entertainment (full disclosure: I’d also had plenty of herbal refreshment). The prices for things that the characters complained about seem like science fiction now, but that’s 30+ years of inflation for you.

And you’re right that Dabney Coleman was weirdly miscast as Jane Curtin’s romantic interest–WTF. It was probably on of those things where he had a multi-picture deal, or his agent knew the casting director, etc.

@nojo: Took my kids to Mount Palomar one fine spring day. The observatory was a bit of a bust, but we had a great snowball fight.

@¡Andrew!: Between Eugene, Oregon, and Willamette, we know how to identify and shun carpetbaggers.

But beyond things like “Where is that baseball field? Oh, there’s the water tower on the hill in the background”, here was the most disconcerting moment:

1. Gas-station attendant handles the pump.

Have I been away that long to have forgotten there’s no self-serve gas in Orygun?

2. Gas-station attendant checks credit card against a printed list.

I remember those now. Took a moment.

3. Gas-station attendant keeps the card when it turns up on the list, since he gets a $25 reward.

Since I don’t go to restaurants, I forget the last time someone else touched my credit card. Maybe the last time I had my Birks resoled. And the only thing capable of taking my card is an ATM.

Hilarious 1979 prices? That was the least of it.

@nojo: Willamette is pronounced like “well DAMMIT,” right?

I loved the part where Jane Curtin was on the phone with the electric company after they shut off the power: “What’s that mama? The iron lung stopped pumping??”

I wonder if those were her real tatas during the strip-tease or if she had a boobie-double. Yes, these are the questions that wake me up in the morning.

I remember the first time I stopped at an Oregon gas station. I started to fill up like I normally would, and then the attendant bolted out of the office waving her arms like the building was gonna asplode. I almost dropped and rolled.

@¡Andrew!: Yes, dammit.

And of course those were Stunt Tits. The tell is the decontextualized cutaway close-up.


So, Tommy, no pressure, but which car did you choose? Something sensible and economical, or an all-out ass-magnet?

Guess which one I recommend ; )

@nojo: Speaking of classic films, one of the local art house cinemas has just made my Saturday night.

@nojo: 1. Gas-station attendant handles the pump.

Here in NJ, too where I just paid, ahem, $3.45/gal.

Do you all tip the pumper?

@mellbell: I’m spoiled on the decrepit London production.

@I’m passing for white: Is that the cheap gas the media keeps gushing about? We’re paying around $4.25 out here with the Commie Coast Special.

@¡Andrew!: I’m not certain about the story behind it, and I’m sure we pay for it in some other way, but, yeah. I’ve lived here off and on all my adult life. When I first move back here, I get out to pump and get bumrushed by the pumpers. When I’m out of state, I sit in my car for a few minutes before I realize that it’s like my job. When I lived on the border w/DE, I always filled up there. Had to pump my own, but still…

$4.35 in Patriotic Sandy Eggo.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the hell out of the BBC Sherlock. (Channel 4 Sherlock? Whatever.) Without spoiling anything: Martin Freeman as Watson.

@nojo: Not to mention Benedict Cumberbatch (they just don’t name them like that over here, do they?) as Holmes. I’ve only seen clips of Sherlock (though I see that it’s streaming on Netflix), but he absolutely killed it in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

@nojo: Huh, what, is this a new Sherlock? Because I’ve had a crush on Sherlock since I was a little girl.
Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying the hell out of the 52 song download on iTunes of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, as performed by Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. I paid $19.99 for it. Inexpensive classical music is the dirty little secret of iTunes. I can’t decide if Steve Jobs loved it and it set it up that way, or it’s because most fans of classical music are almost dead, but last night I went on a binge and bought a shit-ton of classical music – most music at $5.99 or $6.99 an album – I spent $50 and change, and added so many albums/songs/MBs that my iPhone wouldn’t sync due to being overloaded.

And damn, how I love me some of that Bach.

@mellbell: Yup. Netflix.

@SanFranLefty: The twist is that it’s a modern-day Sherlock. And what makes it clever is that they consider how someone with Sherlock’s characteristics would seem today: Brilliant, but totally insufferable.

And, of course, Martin Freeman. Watson has always seemed a drag — a device to represent Sherlock to stuffy Victorians — but they make modern sense of him, too.

@nojo: I thought you wrote “Morgan Freeman.” I was almost interested. ;-P

@SanFranLefty: I have BC #6 by those folks in the field. Nice.

@SanFranLefty: Classical is frequently cheaper, I think, because there are so many new performances of the same piece. The Brandenburg Cs are ridiculously popular – I found this site that will offer them up for free, but not until August.

The only active avoidance of Apple in my life is for paid music downloads – I’m an eMusic fan. Grabbed the new Garbage, on RML’s reccy, for $5.99. But Jobs has me on the hook for “Mad Men” and the occasional movie because overseas, Hulu, Netflix and Amazon are all blocked. Oh, and my Handlers don’t allow for VPN.

Upside of being outside of CONUS? The entire NFL season, on-line, for $19.99!

@mellbell: @SanFranLefty: OMG. It is SO good. Go to Netflix and watch season 1, then head over to, where they still have Season 2 videos for free on the Masterpiece website.

@Mistress Cynica: Agree. By far the best since Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

“A Scandal in Belgravia,” in which Holmes matches wits with an ambitious dominatrix, was the most enjoyable for me of this excellent new series.

I love running joke on the show that people keep mistaking Holmes and Watson for a couple; it has just the right touch of humor.

@¡Andrew!: I love how that gag opens, with each of them wondering about the other — and hey, It’s okay if you are.

@nojo: In one of the episodes, a gay innkeeper tagged them as gay. No Sherlock, he.

Also, IIRC, Mycroft was not a major player in the books.

The bit with the deerstalker was clever. Not so sure about Moriarty.

@mellbell: Does Moriarty remind you at all of the character Q (John de Lancie) in Star Trek?

@Dodgerblue: Couldn’t say. He’s just so tedious. One minute he’s manic, the next droll, then soporific, and so on.

@Dodgerblue: Mycroft played a key role in several of the best stories.

haven’t had a chance to check out this new Sherlock, as I’m still recovering from Mad Men, Layne didn’t quite blow his brains out in a car, but came pretty damn close per the blog that I think RML recommended that stated at the outset that this season’s narrative arc would mirror the songs of the Sgt. Pepper album…

@mellbell: Yeah, I can’t stand the actor’s take on Moriarty. He’s Him from the Powerpuff Girls.

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