New info on my car color.

So apparently "Barbera Red" on my new car is not a reference to a cult movie classic or former first lady (obviously), but instead it's a booze reference.

Yes, shocking as it may seem, I subconsciously chose the color for my new car based on a variety of grape used to make wine. I'd never heard of it before, but I guess it's out there.

I guess "vodka-tonic white" wasn't available from BMW anymore.

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Barak'Rolled at the RNC

Sometimes I love the digital age... this is a cunning piece of editing, if I do say so myself.  I bet the RNC is wishing no one ever got video of their raw blue screen behind McCain where they projected all those patriotic images (and one random image that looked like one of McCain's houses).

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What the heck?

So Microsoft's new ad campaign for Vista launched... here's the video:

Their ad agency says: Today, we are kicking off a highly visible advertising campaign. The first phase of this campaign is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows - a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity. The first in this series [...] aims to re-ignite consumer excitement about the broader value of Windows.

I say "WTF?"  I suppose if the conversation they want to start is "what the hell does that ad have to do with Windows or Vista?" they've accomplished their goals.  Rumored the ads are coming from Crispin Porter, which surprises me.  If this is how MS plans to kill Apple, Steve Jobs must feel a lot like Barak Obama after hearing McCain picked Palin.  "We can deal with this."


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New Car

While I'm on the car thing, we went up to Gebhardt BMW this weekend to get a "pre-turn in estimate" on my car for wear and tear.  Overall, it came out pretty good.

  • Ding in the rear bumper where someone tapped me WAY too hard - $400
  • Scrapes on 3 of the alloy wheels - $100 ea - $300 total
  • Scrape on the front bumper - $50ish to buff it out
While we were there drove a GORGEOUS blue 328xi coupe - it drove well, but getting people in and out of the back would be tricky - unless they were small children or little people.  

We also drove a maroon 335xi with black interior (pictured above).  The car drove like a dream - and was essentially my old 330xi with a different color, bigger engine and lacking navigation - otherwise it was all the same features.

At the end of the day, they forgave the damage on my car due to the low miles (they decided to keep it and sell it instead of send it back to BMW), forgave the last 3 lease payments (this is very common of BMW) and gave us a great deal on the 335xi.  So now it's in our garage - and I have a new car.

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Update on the MG

I totally forgot to post this - even though I have a Picasa & Flickr album up for the thing.  I spent a week or so in early August home in Iowa working on the MG Midget with my brother. We got it SO CLOSE - almost close enough to bring back to Denver.  But... when we were testing the brakes, the master cylinder popped it's seals and *poof* no rear brakes.  Front ones worked so we drove it around a bit, but it's still in Iowa.  Hoping to get the brakes done and bring it back here soon.  Here are a few pics once we got it out of the driveway.

For those keeping score at home, we've made a lot of progress:

  • New Wheels & Tires
  • Paint/Body Work Done
  • Carpet installed
  • Gas tank installed
  • New seats installed
  • Windshield installed
  • Trunk carpet installed
  • Lights rewired & finished
  • New Dash Cover installed
Remaining to do:
  • Finish Top (got part way done but were missing snaps, so had to stop)
  • Finalize stereo install (part way done, but need a new center console)
  • Fix Brakes (top on the list)
  • Door panels (tricky with the windows/etc.)
  • Tune Engine
That's really it.  So close, yet so far away (darn brakes).  More to come when it's complete!

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Back from the body shop!

My brother called the other day to say he was picking up the car from the body shop.

There were some issues with the fuel lines/gas tank ($249.99 later a new gas tank is en route to my brother to replace it).

I'm so excited seeing these camera phone pics he sent over. The body looks amazing. The color is perfect. It's truly flawless.

For those who are curious, the paint job was ~$1,400 all in. We did choose a custom color which drove up the cost a bit, and had some body work done at the same time (though that fender you see in the foreground is brand new - ordered from the Victoria British catalog).

For a quick look at what the interior might look like, check out this second pic my brother sent. Now I REALLY want to drive it!

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Fun Times Cancelling Vonage

I've been a Vonage customer since 2004 - and it served me well when I traveled internationally (softphone saved a LOT on int'l roaming charges) and was at home enough to, well, use a home phone.

But times have changed. I have 2 cell phones, one with totally unlimited minutes, text, web, etc. and rarely if at all use the Vonage service. So I called today to cancel.

After digging around their web site to figure out how to cancel (call our 800#! but we're not going to tell you what it is so you have to dig around to find it somewhere else), getting into their phone navigation (cancel service works on the voice prompts, though you just have to *know* that as they don't articulate it as an option) I finally got to a live rep.

I explained to her that I want to cancel service and allowed her to go through her first "save" technique - looking up and telling me how much I use it and how valuable it is to me.

  • I've used 50 minutes. In the last 6 months.
She noted that wasn't a lot of usage, and that I could get more value out of the service if she upgraded me to unlimited - and then pitched unlimited. I had already told her I use my cell phone, which is unlimited, but apparently I need unlimited x2 phones.
  • I politely declined. Restating that she herself told me I had only used 50 minutes, which were most likely calls to a wrong number. And asked her to please cancel my service.
She then said she could give me a few months free.
  • I declined. And asked her to please cancel my service.
Her next move was to move me down to 100 minutes a month for $9.99 (instead of 500 minutes for $15.99). Considering her first instinct was that I needed unlimited, this suggestion was a bit surprising from her - though more valid.
  • I declined. And asked her to please cancel my service.
She went on to talk about all the other great features and how I could just keep my Vonage number and service but forward to my cell phone - since I use that.
  • I declined. Told her I'd rather just use my cell phone and not have an arbitrary number to give people that would forward (besides, GrandCentral does a nice job of that for free). And asked her to please cancel my service.
Finally, as she went into another speel, I interrupted her and said that for the last time, I wanted to just cancel my service. Done. No upsell. No cross sell. No free months. Just cancel it.

She said she could do that right away for me (but apparently not 10 minutes ago when I first told her what I wanted) and then had me verify once again, for the recording, who I was and that I truly wanted to cancel my service IMMEDIATELY. She also warned me she could not restart service or get my numbers back - but I would have to sign up all over again.

I confirmed and thought we were done, but she then went on to tell me that the Vonage box could be used as a router for my home Internet and should I want to start service again, I don't need to buy anything, but just call them and they'll re-activate that box - with a new number.

I hung up.

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1974 MG - Body Work Nearly Done

Got a camera phone pic from my brother last night. It appears the body work is nearly done on the MG - they just have to put the fenders back on (you can see them in the back waiting patiently).

From there, it's on to the interior, top, tires/wheels and fine tuning and then it should be done. I really can't wait. On top of how long the car has been in storage, just painting it has taken FOREVER!

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The Neverending Car Restoration

I haven't posted in a while, but figured I should. The image to the left is auto paint on a piece of metal - ahead of a full repaint of a car. But I should back up.

In 1991 I bought a 1974 MG Midget for $2300. I actually got a loan for it (kind of laughable for me these days) and within 1 year, promptly had an accident that smashed in one of the doors and then put it into storage. The car has shuffled around to 3 or 4 different storage sites in Iowa (including one out on a farm next to a barn) over the past 15 years and ultimately, had a lot of body damage, a bit of rust and the killer - rats had chewed through all of the wiring, upholstery and carpet.

While in storage (and before the rat damage) I had 2 new carburetors (yes, it has 2) and a new clutch put in. That was sometime in the late 90's.

About a year ago, I decided it was high time to fully restore the car. A quick online estimator showed that it was worth about $14,000 fully restored (my insurance company confirmed this - as that is what they independently valued the car at). My brother, who is quite adept at mechanical things, has been working on it since.

We're now at the point where he has everything he needs to finish the job - though it's taken 3+ weeks to get the thing painted. Which is why I'm writing this post. The above image is all I have of the car. My brother swears he's taken a ton of pictures, but they're too big to email from his hotmail account, so here I sit.

The car SHOULD be out of the body shop and back at my brother's garage having the upholstery and carpet put in, engine tuned, new exhaust put on, etc. But I haven't yet been able to confirm that.

Here's what it looked like last time I saw it:

More to come on this I'm sure. Hopefully I'll be driving it soon!

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Inappropriate Children's Book Covers

So, I'm a bad blogger and haven't put anything on here in AGES. Well, there wasn't really that much out there worth blogging about. Until today.

I happened to catch a little tidbit on OMGBlog about these:

Remember, the contest was to mock up the most inappropriate children's book cover. I think these are great, but nothing compared to the winner.

Click here to see the rest at

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