July 23rd, 2009


SMU, car?

At SMU. Right now they're going digging for my high school transcript, which is reportedly on microfilm. Oh, man, this could potentially be embarassing. They're looking for one more science - I have my Biology 12 from Mr. Burke's class in 1999, but I don't think I exactly shot the lights out. I'm pretty sure the score was sub-70. But if I were to take it today, I would do better, and I hope my 93 / 83 chemistry / precal grades reflect this. I suppose the worst that could happen is that I won't be able to get "in" for another two weeks, when my phsyics mark will be ready. And yay I got a 94 on the second assignment - I'm on my way to posting a good score here. I'm just hoping not to embarass myself too much this fall when my buddy Elie will probably be marking my labs.

I can just see that girl from admissions now. "How on Earth could somebody get an eight in Math 10?"

Got a call from the guy selling the 1999 Acura EL. $3,000, but I don't yet know how many kms are on it. Going to see it sometime this afternoon. I'd like to at least take it to a mechanic I know and give it a once-over. If it checks out, I want this car - it's a good value, well-appointed, gets good gas-mileage, and doesn't cost a fortune to insure (something like $7-900 bucks a year for me).

One thing though is that this guy wants to sell this car quickly. (Alarm bells.) He says the reason is that he's getting a new Acura straight away. I guess he figured he'd do better selling himself than passing it off to the dealer - I hear that a lot of people do, unless we're talking absolute junkers, in which case the oft-promulgated "push, pull, or drag it in" would work out in the new-car-buyer's favor. But if he pressures me to do something today, I think that'll have to kill the potential deal. Any reasonable seller would allow me to have another set of eyes check the rig out before I buy it. I hope that I'm worrying too much, but with stuff like this you really can't be too careful! Hopefully he'll understand that it's my first car purchase, and he'll be patient with me.

Update: She did warn me that she'd be going for lunch from 1-2, which is fine, unfortunately the guy filling in for her during this time is useless. He's basically like, "Well, gee, sorry, I can't help you." Well, if I've waited this long, I can wait another 40 minutes. It just cheezes me that this guy was completely clueless and had no idea how or if he could pick up where she left off.


I'm beyond suspicious. The guy said he'd phone me at 1:30 and now it's after 4. His number came up "Restricted" on my phone, so I can't call him back. His e-mail alias is "acurarules." It's probably not even my call anymore to say I'll pass on this one - he passed over me. Guess he had someone who was able to go see him right that second. Sheesh.

Also, some other dude stood me up earlier this week on an apartment viewing. I came ten minutes early, and waited ten minutes past the appointed time. I rang the doorbell. He had my cell phone number. Nothing. The only positive thing to come out of it was running into JuJu, who called me from his car, wondering what I was doing standing nonchalantly on the sidewalk in his neighbourhood. Anyway, I didn't like the looks of the place, and it made me realize that 1) I wasn't going to spend money on a situation I wasn't in love with and 2) having few friends outside of what Sarah called the "Parent's Basement's Club," I'm not likely to happen upon a good situation right when I need it.

When someone puts up a posting that's appealing, be it for transportation or lodging, hundreds of people reply. Yet I think cars are easier to get than places to live. There are just so, so many cars out there - and it doesn't matter where they are, because they can move. Apartments can't.

Man, there are just so many shysters out there, though!
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long beard


Twitter: I'm in! Will be a sciencecematist! Details to follow!

So yeah, I've been accepted to the great glory that is studying science at Saint Mary's. I found out today that my application had been branded "incomplete," because they needed two Grade 12 science or equivalents, and since my physics grade is still pending, they went back to my high school transcript to find another Grade 12 science to go with my chemistry from this spring. (Despite Paul Lutus' assertions, math, at least for the purposes of university admission, is not a science. ;-)

And lo and behold, I scored a magnificent 56 in Biology 12, four points short of what I needed for it to count for anything, admissions-wise.

So the very nice lady from student recruitment who's filling in in the admissions office this week tells me that I should come back after I get my physics grade. She even asked me who I was getting academic advising from, impressed that I was upgrading the way I was. Well, me, of course, the greatest authority in the universe on what I need. ;-) Instead of saying that, I casually stated that I had simply been looking into things myself.

I laughed about the 56, saying, "I was an idiot back then!" In case you're wondering if this kind of nitpicking really matters, it didn't in the end - she told me to wait a moment, and after checking with a colleague, she came back and told me that I would be accepted immediately, taking me at my word that I'd get my physics, but please please bring them that mark as soon as I get it.

I'm tempted to redact this: It's all fun and games now, but I wonder how screwed I'd be if I were Japanese. They have to write numerous exams just to get into high school. All things being equal, I would have failed those, and instead of shopping for a car today I'd be looking for a private box in the woods of Osaka Castle Park. Well, I could get a job if I was lucky, perhaps flipping burgers at McDonald's for 700 yen an hour... for the rest of my life! Man oh man. Reason: I really don't know what I'm talking about.

Oh, more good news! My cousin, who could sell snow to Eskimos, is apparently a not-too-shabby buyer, as she talked down the price of her truck rental by a significant margin. So it looks like we'll be going to Toronto together pretty much as planned! That makes me very happy.

5:30pm: Guy still hasn't called back. I e-mailed him, no response there either. Time to fugadeabout him and his car and move on. Found two handy used car references (in adult non-fiction, not non-circulating reference!) that I'm going to take home and read. Long live the library.

"Interesting" car ads...

Although this 2007-08 edition of Lemon-Aid I'm reading says that the Internet is the worst place to look for cars, that's probably changed - in 2009, the Internet is virtually the only place to do anything, ever.

So I'm browsing Kijiji, and there are a few eye-openers... some obvious "curbsiders," like one car I saw last night that had a conspicuous gap around the panel in the middle of the steering wheel. It looked like the airbag had been deployed, and the "repair" was hasty and DIY.

There was also that Acura I was looking at - that ad's gone, and the clock's ticking on the ones I'm going to link to for your amusement, so get 'em while they're hot.

A Hyundai Accent, in desperate need of hubcaps, with a tacked-on Subaru hood badge. But these cars in general are pretty OK if you don't mind seeing yourself everywhere you go.

A $2,900 Smart Car. I shit you not. Can't be older than 2004, as that was the year they came to Canada. These cars used to have waiting lists in this country. (Guess that was a hot buy - that ad's gone, too.)

$600 MX-6 with "low kilimoters" and recently replaced "breaks and struts." Evidently used to commute to classes in a faculty of commerce.

A good looking MX-3, but the seller is saying "No test piolets!" [sic] If you can't take a car for a test drive (not to mention an inspection by a trusted mechanic), that's a huge red flag.

Digression: Mazdas of these kinds are reportedly good buys. I'd actually shortlist a good specimen from a legit seller.


A bare-bones Civic, in confusing, frustrating montage. (There must be an image limit on Kijiji or something.)

A 1997 2-door Civic, beautiful red but there's a ghastly scratch on the back bumper and scuffs on the front. Nothing that can't be easily fixed, but it makes you wonder... Also, I didn't know Dartmouth had a "RIGHT AVE."

Two '96 Civics (one black, one yellow) being sold at the same address. Neither are safety inspected, and you save $300 if you buy before the weekend. Suspicious, to say the least. Always mistrust people who are rushing you.

What's the point in havin' a Honda if you can't show the H? ;-)

You get tired of looking after a while, and I think I'll call it a night now. I've been looking seriously at Mercury Cougars of the 89-97 era and will be making some calls tomorrow. Nobody wants these big rear-drive cars anymore... but I do! Cons: Mediocre handling, poor gas mileage. Pros: Well-appointed, easy to get parts, easy to fix, inexpensive to buy, retro-looking... I dunno, call me crazy, but I have a soft spot for these cars. I mean, I was actually comparing different Grand Marquis. Also, there's a wonderfully corny song.
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