None Thread with Left Free
February 7, 2022 9:24 AM   Subscribe

*slaps roof of website* this baby can fit so many Free Threads in it

Come on in and chat about whatever. Did your family have a minivan? My family had a minivan. You don't have to talk about minivans, I just sort of got thinking about that. Hi!

As always, aim for low-stakes conversation, weird little not-quite-a-post links (or possibly someone else immediately saying "no that should totally be a post" and making it a post), and whatever else that doesn't fit elsewhere.
posted by cortex (301 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
station wagons > minivans
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 9:27 AM on February 7, 2022 [23 favorites]

Had a home rapid test show positive today, went in for a drive-thru PCR test this morning, now waiting for results. Sudden Bonus Long Weekend!

(I'm no showing any symptoms, but I've been doing a Monday morning rapid test every week for a while. Being vaxxed/boosted, I could be carrying and not know it.)
posted by hippybear at 9:28 AM on February 7, 2022 [13 favorites]

I think I'm just barely old enough to have had the experience of riding in a station wagon with a reverse-facing rearmost seat. It was awesome, but I was with a cub scout den full of other kids who insisted on making faces at the drivers behind us, so I spend the whole ride feeling really embarrassed.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 9:31 AM on February 7, 2022 [21 favorites]

My first car (my parents, but first one I was allowed to drive) was a station wagon...I guess it was better than nothing. Right? A few months later I finally got my own car - a '73 Chrysler New Yorker - and the first song I heard on the radio was a current Top 40 hit - "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" by Yes.
posted by davidmsc at 9:32 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

I'm from a station wagon family.

We had dance-offs against the minivan kids. Quite the rivalry.
posted by champers at 9:33 AM on February 7, 2022 [7 favorites]

Oh god, 70s station wagons were the best, though. Those bench seats without shoulder belts, you could fit 4 in front and 5 in back, and then another 2-3 in the stowage space.

I mean, entirely not safe, but also not unheard of for a bunch of high school kids in the 80s going to the drive in where you pay by the carload. Or out to the desert for shenanigans. Or whatever.

I really miss cars with bench seats. If nothing else, sleeping possibilities are much greater.
posted by hippybear at 9:35 AM on February 7, 2022 [19 favorites]

We had a used Volvo 240 DL growing up. In the back seat it had a little trunk access hole behind the middle armrest, and on long drives it was so cool to reach behind into the trunk and grab snacks or a drink. Like we were riding in a limo!
posted by RonButNotStupid at 9:36 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

I programmed a talk out of spite recently (of interest to librarians!) and the wonderful presenter put the (slaps roof) meme in the presentation and it was so lovely
posted by avocet at 9:36 AM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

We had the original Mazda MPV mini-van - stick shift, 4WD, and an opening (not sliding) third door. Fancy!
posted by jpeacock at 9:36 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

you never hear about maxivans
posted by thelonius at 9:37 AM on February 7, 2022 [17 favorites]

maxivans require a CDL and chauffeur's license
posted by hippybear at 9:38 AM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

The first car I remember is a 53' Chevy my dad drove. Then a new 1968 VW station which we all went to California the summer of 69'. We did test drive a 66' VW bus for a trip to D.C. then came the Buick station wagon and in 78', a new Chevette which later was my first car.
posted by clavdivs at 9:38 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

jebus, I'm old.
posted by clavdivs at 9:38 AM on February 7, 2022 [8 favorites]

One day in 2002 we were flipping channels (remember that?) and stumbled on a wonderful little documentary called Sandwiches That You Will Like on PBS. Looking back, I think it's the single most impactful show I have ever watched.

When we were in Buffalo years ago we organized a day around eating beef on weck, and in Pittsburgh we made sure to get a Primanti Brothers. When we were in New Orleans we ate a muffuletta. I drove the kids to Iowa to eat loose meat.

We just booked some college visits for my oldest kid over spring break; we'll be near Philadelphia so I am already giddily anticipating the cheesesteak opportunities.

I didn't plan to organize my domestic travel around regional sandwiches, but I'm glad it turned out that way.

(What are your favorite sandwiches?)
posted by AgentRocket at 9:39 AM on February 7, 2022 [15 favorites]

my dinner with vandre
posted by cortex at 9:40 AM on February 7, 2022 [9 favorites]

a new Chevette which was my first car.

Brain: *sees word Chevette*

*storm of brain chemistry*

"🎶Chevy Chevette... It'll drive you happy! 🎶"

Fucking hell, brain!
posted by hippybear at 9:40 AM on February 7, 2022 [7 favorites]

They were out of cars last time I went on a business trip (circa January 2020) so I got a minivan. I did not expect to love it, and it was super weird driving it to meet clients- but making one my next vehicle has definitely crossed my mind.
posted by Torosaurus at 9:41 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

(What are your favorite sandwiches?)

A properly made Rueben is always at the top of my list.
posted by hippybear at 9:41 AM on February 7, 2022 [23 favorites]

We got a brand new Dodge Caravan the summer we lived in White Sands, NM, and despite frequent vacuuming we never could get all of the sand out. For years, the creases in the seats fairly sparkled with white gypsum, like sugar.
posted by mochapickle at 9:43 AM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

I only really remember my family having a series of VW minibuses - a brown and cream type 2, then a blue vanagon (T3), then a red eurovan (T4). But I do remember having picnics and stuff in the back of a car with rear facing jumpseats too. Guess I gotta ask my brother, doot dee doo...
posted by Kyol at 9:44 AM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

In one of the previous free threads I mentioned the field mouse that cuddled up right under my cheek the other day, without me realizing it. Well, she did it again and this time I caught her.
I was sitting, reading on the couch just like before, and once again, became aware that something was skritch scratching nearby.
She'd crawled up under the blanket right up to me. This time I just scooped her up in the blanket and took her (blanket and all) to a nearby nature reserve where other field mice live, and where there are no cats.
Much safer than my house, for her, but I know she might not survive, all the same, separated from her family and familiar environment.
I managed to get a video of her earlier. As you can see, she's pretty chill. And notice the pretty stripes on her back, which is why we call her "Streep Muis" over here.
I do hope she survives. I would love to allow her to stay in my house but there are too many dangers here.
posted by Zumbador at 9:44 AM on February 7, 2022 [17 favorites]

My family's station wagon was very much like this one -- can't vouch for exact model/year but I remember the push-button transmission. Once a year or so through the '60s we'd take family car trips in it, usually in the most brutal heat/humidity of summer (of course there was no A/C). Since my father was a true child of the Depression, he was very unwilling to stop at motels ("lousy gutrobbers!"), instead trading off driving all night with my mom. She would recline the back seat, spread out some blankets, put down pillows for me and my two brothers, cover us with a sheet, and we'd drive on and on through the heavy thick Midwestern summer night on two-lane blacktops, with the smells of asphalt and manure coming in the windows, cornfields sliding by endlessly, dark dark starry skies, my parents in the front seats arguing in low tense voices, and my mother chain-smoking. (I have no idea why they persisted in these trips--everyone pretty much hated them--but they seemed to be an obligatory part of Being A Family.)
posted by Kat Allison at 9:45 AM on February 7, 2022 [10 favorites]

Oh sorry everyone, I jumped the gun on the sandwiches thing. I see we are still on vans.

We got the redesigned Toyota Sienna last year, when they moved to hybrid engines. It's a great car, and I love all the safety technology, but holy cow all the random beeps.
posted by AgentRocket at 9:45 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

a soggy Reuben is like warm yougurt
posted by clavdivs at 9:47 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

We had a station wagon growing up. It' was a silver Ford thing that was insanely unreliable. My mom was a teacher and we lived only about a 2 miles from her school, and it made it about 85% of the time. We would coast down the hill, and then my dad or the mechanic would pick it up and fix it while we worked. I really hated that thing. I got car sick so often laying in the trunk coloring. It was slightly before anyone really cared about seatbelts.

When I was 11 she traded it in for a Chevy Suburban, that thing was so much fancier it was crazy. Back seat AC, and comfortable considering that I had 4 brothers and sister for a total family of 7. It had the big glass in the rear so visibility was pretty good. I learned to drive in that thing. Her next one had those tiny square windows, like 1998 I think. Visibility was terrible, like driving a Uhaul truck.

I have a Honda minvan now as our main car. My wife loves it, I hate it. It's a bit shorter but 5" wider than my Mom's suburban was, and we only have 2 kids, not 5, so I find it insanely unnecessary. We got it mostly to drive her family around when we visit them.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:49 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'm an old, we had panel station wagon. OH YEAH!!!!
posted by supermedusa at 9:49 AM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

I see we are still on vans.

Wasn't really a van, but my favorite teenage car was a '75 Gold Duster. Giant bench seats (could sit 8 pretty easily), and what I'd call a "5 body trunk, without chopping". And an engine that could give you whiplash from red lights if you weren't stepping on the eggshell. Also, that car was pre-headrests, so yes, whiplash.

Best car ever. Don't remember the gas milage as this was the 80s and it was relatively cheap, but man, such an amazing car to get to drive at 16.
posted by hippybear at 9:49 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

Does anyone remember when mefi membership was closed and so monkeyfilter was there as a poor, but accessible, relative? When I used to lurk metafilter, monkeyfilter was always there.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 9:51 AM on February 7, 2022 [13 favorites]

My first car was a mash-up of a Volvo 240 and a 242. As an aspiring artist, I loved that I had a collage car.
posted by mumimor at 9:51 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Minivans are land spaceships.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:51 AM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

posted by supermedusa at 9:52 AM on February 7, 2022 [7 favorites]

We had a leak on Saturday - smelled like acetone. Google told us, over and over, that the #1 cause of the smell of acetone is a leak from an HVAC system, which tracked with the smell being throughout the place from the vents, but not in our upstairs neighbor's place or in the common hallway. Called our HVAC guy. Finds nothing. I'm running around trying to find where it smells the most, but with an open plan (kitchen dining area living room hallway) it's kind of difficult.

The smell did seem a little bit stronger in the kitchen, and I started thinking about coolant and the fridge (no idea why I didn't think of this first - I mean, because Google said HVAC HVAC HVAC, but still). Pulled the fridge out of its recess and HOLY SHIT DO WE HAVE NAIL-POLISH-REMOVER GREMLINS IN THE FRIDGE?!

Freon leak. But... freon is odorless? Why do we smell acetone if it's freon? Google says that if you smell acetone you shouldn't light anything on fire (like using the stove) because you will BLOW UP.

Told by HVAC to call the Fire Department so they can take readings and find out what it is. I asked why we could smell it all through the house if it's not from HVAC. He says whatever's in the air gets sucked into the HVAC and redistributed through the system. Makes sense.

Sent HVAC on his way, called the Fire Department, who seemed unconcerned based on description but absolutely are sending people over, and then Samsung (fridge). Now it's like 8pm Saturday.

We've put all the food from the fridge and freezer in boxes (luckily there's a gigantic ice chest out back that is usually our porch, but hey glad for the snow and ice this time).

Fire Department shows up. Two firemen enter. Neither is wearing a face mask.


They have some kind of reader, but it can't detect freon.

More fun!

It can tell us our oxygen level in the place, and it's at 20.9, and 21 is the highest, so they say we're not in any danger and nothing in the air is flammable.

Samsung says our unit was out of warranty in 2017. We didn't even buy it until December 2019. They don't know why their record shows it's from 2015 but that's what the serial number brought up. Said they can't send anyone until MONDAY. "Our repair companies are closed." Bitch this is Chicago no way do you not have an account with a 24-hour repair company. On hold. On hold. On hold. "I'm sorry, but" so I escalate it, on hold, on hold, on hold, finally give up on Samsung and decide to eat the repair cost so that the freaking acetone smell goes away. Guy comes out with like a FRIDGE GEIGER COUNTER and when he puts the sensor under the back of the fridge it sounds like Ep 2 of Chernobyl.

I told him the Fire Department says it's not flammable, and before I can finish my sentence he PULLS OUT A LIGHTER AND LIGHTS IT.

(It's not flammable. But that is not how you tell a customer that.)

He says the smell may last up to two weeks. We can't exactly open the windows to air the place out. He says the scent is added so you can tell if there's a freon leak, like now. (Same as natural gas -- just less well known.)

Over two hours, he sends sealant down the freon tubing, waits (this is the bulk of 2 hours), puts more freon in, and the sensor no longer shows a leak. We pay the exorbitant cost, put our food back in, and start burning scented candles and incense.

Just how I wanted to spend my weekend!
posted by tzikeh at 9:52 AM on February 7, 2022 [23 favorites]

When I lived in Nashville near college, I often saw two vans with license plates that I adored: MOM VAN and VANITAS. I guess if you are a professor and your life is heading in the minivan direction, you got jokes.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:53 AM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

When I was two years old the parents threw the five of us into a station wagon my dad had bought for cash (not much of it) and headed across country to California. Two flat tires on day one. They were brave, foolish people.
posted by zenzenobia at 9:53 AM on February 7, 2022 [8 favorites]

Sandwich opinions: Duke's mayonnaise > Hellman's. Mayonnaise > butter when making grilled cheese. Cotswold > most cheeses for grilled cheese. Jim's > Pat's and Geno's.

In other news, we're coming up on two years since the last time my band played at the venue where we're booked on Saturday. This time, our own (canned) wine will be an option behind the bar.
posted by emelenjr at 9:54 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

I think I'm just barely old enough to have had the experience of riding in a station wagon with a reverse-facing rearmost seat. It was awesome, but I was with a cub scout den full of other kids who insisted on making faces at the drivers behind us, so I spend the whole ride feeling really embarrassed.

Oh man I remember those. I rode in a carpool with somebody whose mom drove a station wagon that had one that folded up from the floor. I thought it was really cool, even though it was uncomfortable in every way, because I loved stuff that was "built in." I still do, even though I know it tends not to actually work for its intended purpose after the first few years, if at all.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:57 AM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

Yesterday I explained furries to my parents, again, in the context of Maus, the furry community rallying to support it, anthro art, Jewish identity aligning with other marginalized identities in an increasingly blatant antisemitic environment, etc. Mind you, my whole family is nerds and I was heavily involved in the mid 2000s con scene and have a fair few furry friends and might as well be one if your criteria is low enough to include “thinks often about catboys” but anyway my point is, these old farts KNOW what furries are, I swear they were just asking questions about it to see how far down the rabbit hole I would go, and instead I kept talking about social justice and artistic freedom and highschool curriculums and stuff.

Turns out neither of them have read it, which is a travesty, especially my father who fancies himself a Jewish scholar of sorts. I have a signed copy of the first volume of Maus and when I told them to read it, Mom suggested she could come visit and borrow mine to see if she liked it. They live in Texas and I live in Seattle. I told them to borrow it from the library. They weren’t sure their library would have it. They live in one of the largest cities in a state that contains Dallas and Houston. I said I would just mail them a copy via the internet and they said no no, that’s okay, we’ll look into it maybe, after the next book club meeting. Okay, fine. Don’t read the incredible comic about our own community’s history that means a lot to your child and is currently super relevant. Instead, just pepper me with increasingly boggled questions about people who like to be other mammals sometimes.

Anyway, same old, same old. My favorite sandwiches are: prosciutto, fig jam, arugula, fresh mozzarella, black pepper on a crusty roll; classic roast beef sandwich with horseradish on a soft bun; incredible summer tomatoes cut into thick slabs and salted layered with hard boiled egg, mayonnaise, and Swiss cheese on dark rye; little fussy cucumber cream cheese and dill sandwiches on cute crust-free white bread served with tea.
posted by Mizu at 9:58 AM on February 7, 2022 [15 favorites]

Suburban not minivan. Blue and darker blue, one of the back seats taken out for room, leaving a bolt hole in the floor through which one could drop things.

One could also get very carsick, and I did.
posted by emjaybee at 9:58 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

The first car that I drove was a 59 Edsel that was birthed the same year I was.. It had everything; even air conditioning, electric windows and a fordomatic transmission. It was the size of a current day limo: twas a massive hunk of steel painted an awful original shade of pale green.

I....kinda, nostalgically, miss it.
posted by mightshould at 9:59 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

Also when I was a kid we had a station wagon with the exterior wood paneling and the fold-down "way back." My brother and I sat basically on the floor of what would be the trunk and played board games on family road trips. Man, nobody gave a SHIT about car safety in the 70s.
posted by tzikeh at 9:59 AM on February 7, 2022 [7 favorites]

There's a mint (like showroom floor mint) condition Buick Roadmaster Estate with the fake wood paneling that parks in front of my office from time to time. I've never seen who drives it but it makes me smile every time I see it.
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:00 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

We had a strange acetone like smell in the kitchen. Looked everywhere. Nothing. Then the food in the fridge and freezer started to taste like acetone. Looked again. Nothing. Finally after a couple weeks we found it. A really moldy orange that fell behind a produce drawer. Moldy oranges are bioweapons.
posted by njohnson23 at 10:01 AM on February 7, 2022 [19 favorites]

I have never had a minivan. I do currently have a Nissan Versa Note, which had as its primary recommendation that it was relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, it doesn't do well in heavy snow, and I live in...heavy snow. Whoops.

My ongoing adventure as someone living in an 1850 house has been dealing with some jury-rigged plumbing, which froze and then exploded a couple of weeks ago. This resulted in new jury-rigged plumbing next to the old (removing it would have required tearing off a floor-to-ceiling wall moulding, destroying the baseboard, and making a gigantic hole in the wall), a wired-in electric baseboard heater (entirely for the benefit of the plumbing), and, later this week, additional attic insulation (also entirely for the benefit of the plumbing). Meanwhile, given that the rest of the house has Victorian insulation (none), my radiators have been shrugging their shoulders during this cold snap and asking, "whaddya want me to do about this, exactly?"
posted by thomas j wise at 10:01 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

start burning scented candles and incense.

Just how I wanted to spend my weekend!

You hippies are everywhere!
posted by hippybear at 10:01 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

We got the first ever Dodge Caravan the moment it came out, in 1984. This remains, far as I know, the only brand new car my parents ever bought and it was pretty out of character for them to buy something so revolutionary. The whole idea of a minivan was so new that people would literally stop us at McDonalds or whatever and ask us what the hell THAT thing is. Great car! Except, as a 100% new design it had some kinks, like the fact that if you closed the sliding door (there was only one) while the window was open the window would shatter, as we found out in the parking lot of Olde Sturbridge Village.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:04 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

I had the interview today. I am terrible at interviewing. I've done so little of it (I have had 3 main jobs in twenty years, 10 yrs, 5yrs, and 5yrs.) It was my very first virtual interview ever and whoa is that awkward. My only saving grace is that I already work as a contract temp in the office I was interviewing for and so I'm a known quantity. Hopefully, they'll go, "Schyler523 was nervous and kind of weird and looked like he was about to vomit...he's normally not like that!"

So fingers crossed that I wasn't so bad that I don't make it to the next round.
posted by schyler523 at 10:04 AM on February 7, 2022 [14 favorites]

My wife found me my minivan unicorn last year: a bone stock 2010 Mazda5 sport with a manual. It's like a pregnant Mazda3!
posted by tmt at 10:04 AM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

I am just popping in to tell all partners of perimenopausal people: YOU NEED TO BE REALLY NICE TO THEM!!! Holy hell. The miserable night I just had. (Due to peri, not my partner, who is being really sweet to me.)
posted by HotToddy at 10:04 AM on February 7, 2022 [13 favorites]

When I was four or five, we had a big 70s station wagon. It had vinyl siding. I used to take small bites out of the vinyl and spit it on the floor. When my father discovered the small bite marks, There Was A Reconning.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 10:05 AM on February 7, 2022 [12 favorites]

When we were in Buffalo years ago we organized a day around eating beef on weck, and in Pittsburgh we made sure to get a Primanti Brothers. When we were in New Orleans we ate a muffuletta. I drove the kids to Iowa to eat loose meat.

That's what a Primanti brothers sandwich is? Mystery solved. I heard about this sandwich in the 2014 song Got a Girl - Put Your Head Down. At 2:45 during the middle 8, Mike Patton says

You know what?
You know what, baby?
You know what'd be nice?
A nice Primanti Brothers sandwich
You know, they put fries in the sandwich
With that mortadella

Doesn't add much to the song knowing what the sandwich is. I think Mike just really wanted to say MORTADELLA!!!
posted by adept256 at 10:05 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

So maybe you guys can solve a raging argument in our household (as much as we have raging arguments). Subaru Forester, SUV, Crossover or Wagon?

I'm team Wagon. I know there are unibody vehicles out there, but for me to call something an SUV it needs to be Body-On-Frame. That opinion might be problematic in this day and age, but it is something that I just feel in my bones.

My wife is team SUV. She is a RAV-4/CRV type, and seems to feel my opinion on unibody vehicles is not shared with the outside world, and I should just get with the times.

I will concede to calling the Forester a crossover, which I know in my heart is just a beefy wagon, but my wife refuses to yield.

This is no statement on whether the Forester is a good vehicle, on that opinion we are united.
posted by The Power Nap at 10:05 AM on February 7, 2022

I am just popping in to tell all partners of perimenopausal people: YOU NEED TO BE REALLY NICE TO THEM!!! Holy hell.
posted by HotToddy at 10:04 AM

posted by hippybear at 10:06 AM on February 7, 2022 [7 favorites]

For those who get motion-sick in cars, what makes it go away? I am OK if I can see out the windshield but if not, I get horribly nauseated and overwarm, always have, especially if I try to read.

The only thing that fixes it for me is once destination is reached, going to pee!
posted by wellred at 10:06 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I want to urge everyone to register voters. Print the registration forms, put them in envelopes, carry them with you. Ask people The Question: "Are you registered to vote?" If they aren't registered, ask "are you progressive?" If the interlocutor indicates they are conservative, tell them "you really should take care of that," and go on with your day. If they say yes, I'm progressive, give them an envelope. If they're registered, and progressive, it's a great chance to explain the math: if 20-25% of Democrats in my state register a couple of people each (and they're out there, I promise you) we'll have a lead. If the independents do the same, we'll have a commanding lead. In one of the reddest states in the nation. If you live in a red state, the numbers are almost certainly similar.

Here's the secret: the percentages are daunting, but the actual numbers aren't. There are around 32 million unregistered adults in America. Just 5% of that number, spread across a few key states, can completely change the electoral calculus in the country. You can be a part of that. The sacred fire of liberty is lit with a single, tiny spark. You be the spark.

Yes, all kinds of organizing are important, and we should support those efforts. But in the end, it all comes down to people voting. People form coalitions, and vote to elect reps who will enact laws to benefit the greatest possible number. This is simple stuff, and anyone can do it. Most importantly, you can do it, and you can start today.

Don't be concerned with changing people's minds, we can work on that later. Just find your people: I promise you, they're out there, waiting to talk to you. Yes, we need to change minds if we can, and yes, we need to everything possible to get out the vote in every election. But the most important thing is organizing, and this is a start to that goal, something anyone in America can start doing today.

Go with your heart full because this is our moment: there are more people in the country aware of the stakes and what needs to be done than ever before. We are the majority, and there's nothing we can't do if we are organized and mobilized.

You be the spark. It's just that simple: you be the spark.
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 10:08 AM on February 7, 2022 [30 favorites]

So maybe you guys can solve a raging argument in our household (as much as we have raging arguments). Subaru Forester, SUV, Crossover or Wagon?

My husbear had a Subaru Outback Wagon when I met him nearly 30 years ago. He'd had it for 15-20 years. Within a couple of years he traded it in for a (then brand new) Subaru Outback Wagon. He owned that for over 20 years, when he traded THAT in for a brand new Subaru Outback Wagon. He's 70 now. It's probably the last car he will ever buy.

You can draw from that what you will.
posted by hippybear at 10:09 AM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

As a kid, I got driven around in a couple of station wagons and a proper not-mini van that my folks finished "converting" by adding a couple of captain's chairs but that remained just stupid beige.

It looks like nobody wants to buy the style of vehicle they were driven around in when they were 11 or 12. Boomers got driven around in big boat wagons, so they bought minivans because they were never driven around in minivans. But at least minivans took everything station wagons did and did just about all of them better. Then the late x-ers and millennials who got driven around in those minivans all went out and bought at least notional SUVs that they were never driven around in, even though the main functional difference is only that SUV doors are less useful. I'm curious what the generation for whom "mom's kid hauler" means an SUV will gravitate towards to avoid admitting that they're parents.

We have a minivan now as the dog truck and it is awesome. It's stupidly, absurdly overpowered; pushing 300hp. It does 0-60 in less than eight seconds, which would have been well into sports-car territory when I was growing up. WTF, world.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:09 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

AgentRocket - You might also like this previously.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:12 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

My parents bought a fourth generation Chevy Nova four-door sedan once that had just come off a fleet lease. This isn't the 60s Nova you're thinking of. It was boxy as hell, supposedly to look like "the finest European sedans." Thing was a fucking tank. As a teenager, I backed it out of a driveway while trying to turn around and ripped the entire side off a passing car. The Nova got a small dent on the very back corner about the size of my fist.
posted by Naberius at 10:12 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

I have no subaru opinions, sorry.

We got a base model Toyota Sienna that used to be a rental early on in All This, as we have a toddler an no vehicle that would fit everyone when grandparents visit
DH was bummed about the lack of center consol, bit it's been hella useful for hauling lumber. Our Vehicle Replacement Plan is that I get an electric when my car gives out (we're getting solar put in next week with enough capacity to cover an EV). We'll likely drive the minivan (whosr name is Murry) into the ground and get an EV minivan when the kid(s) are...old enough to be thinking about driving.

*I hate on-screen keyboards so much. Autocorrect is not worth it for me, but...gah!
posted by DebetEsse at 10:12 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

My second car was a Volvo 740 wagon with a leaky sunroof and narcolepsy. I did have some feels when I sent it to the farm.

My current minivan is just plain cromulent, but I gather I have hauled more with it in the last two years than the average F150 owner.
posted by credulous at 10:12 AM on February 7, 2022

I just flew* back from physical therapy, and boy are my arms** tired! I've never had a minivan. My parents didn't either, but I'm an only child, so that tracks. I did have an Outback for a while. I like my reubens with pastrami instead of corned beef.

posted by mrgoat at 10:16 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

We had a big Ford station wagon with wood paneling on the side. It had two fold-down benches in the back that faced each other. When we'd go to the drive-in theater they would charge extra if you had more than four people in the car so my parents would hide my older brother under the seats.

My wife has an Outback, which I guess is a station wagon. I've got a Forester, which is the small SUV version of the Outback.

I rented a minivan once on a road trip we did out West and it was the perfect vehicle to do that in. Comfy seats for everyone and plenty of cargo room.

Love the thread title
posted by bondcliff at 10:17 AM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

I really miss cars with bench seats.

A thing: Having that special someone slide coyly over into the middle spot. I miss that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:19 AM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

For those who get motion-sick in cars, what makes it go away?

Nothing. I am only guaranteed not to get sick if I am driving.
posted by JanetLand at 10:20 AM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

I think I mentioned in a previous one of these that we're having our bathroom remodeled. I'd like to share how that's been going so far, because it's been pretty interesting witnessing it in action.

(I should point out here, I guess, that when we started planning this out we both assumed that we'd be back in our respective offices by the time the work started. That didn't happen due to omicron, so I get to continue working from home through the worst of the construction.)

The design/build company we hired told us ahead of time that work would start on the 26th of January. In preparation for that, they got a porta potty dropped off (in our front yard - it's the city and there's nowhere else to put it). The morning of the 25th, there's a knock on the door; it's the general contractor that's going to do the work. "We're doing another job down the block, and they might be finishing up early today - if they do, do you mind if we start demolition this afternoon?" Sure, why not. We wait around all day, and no one shows up. No worries, it happens.

Morning of the 26th, the demo team arrives right on schedule. We had prepped by taking everything out of the bathroom and the entryway; they spent about an hour putting down protective floor coverings and raising tarps to control the dust. The next six hours were constant noise and vibration as it felt like the house was collapsing around us. And then, just as quickly as they had set up, they were gone along with the entire contents of the old bathroom (except for the toilet which they had thankfully reinstalled). It's a hundred year old house, so we got a neat look on the inside of the plaster-and-lath walls and found a few razor blades in there!

And then... no work happens. No one shows up Thursday or Friday (some scheduling conflicts with the builders). Saturday we get blizzarded in, so Monday is also a cancel. Builders finally come on Tuesday; at this point we are approaching a full week with a non-existent bathroom. Some framing goes up to rebuild the cupboard that was in there and reinforce some of the wall studs. The old window is removed and a hole for the new one is framed out. Toilet goes back in at the end of the day, and the window hole is boarded up temporarily.

Wednesday we get an email from the foreman. There's some significant water and carpenter ant damage coming from the second floor (our upstairs neighbors). Here's an invoice to cover the extra carpentry to ensure your house doesn't fall down. Luckily the neighbors agree to split the cost of that work, since it's sort of a joint issue.

Builders come again on Friday and spend twelve hours removing structural components of the exterior wall and replacing them with new material, as well as shoring up the upstairs (neighbor's) bathroom floor so it doesn't fall in to our unit. Cupboard framing has to get removed and reinstalled, and then plywood goes down on our floor to prep for the tiling. Toilet gets reinstalled. As they're cleaning up, I get summoned to the basement. "There's a leak coming from upstairs. We shut the water off, and a plumber will be here tomorrow." Turns out all the sawing and nailing and hand grenading or whatever else was going on had cracked one of the old copper pipes leading up to the neighbor's unit.

Right. Text the neighbors about the situation, they're understanding. Except the leak never stops. 100 year old house with equally old plumbing means that none of the water valves seem to work fully. I find a bucket and rig up some old plastic bags to guide the drip into it. Saturday morning, no one shows up. There's a bit of a language barrier with the builders (they're all Brazilian), and we're sitting around wondering if he actually meant a plumber was going to show up on a Saturday to deal with somewhat minor but nonetheless persistent leak.

And lo and behold, a plumber appears at around noon! We live in a "Phildelphia" style building where we have the ground floor plus one bedroom on the second floor (neighbors own the rest of the building), and to fix the leak the plumber has to cut a hole in our upstairs bedroom wall. Not too big a deal, I think, since I was hoping to replaster it at some point anyway. There's one odd wall in the room that has a sort of weird decorative plywood on it; I thought there was nothing beneath it but it turns out after cutting it open that there's more plaster and lath back there! So, an hour later thirty or so feet of copper pipe are replaced with PEX and we no longer have water where it shouldn't be.

Builders are back today to finish installing the window and... I'm not sure what else! I'll find out later this evening, I guess. So out of 9 business days this has been going on, we've had active work on 4 of those (plus the emergency plumber incident). Seems like it's coming along pretty well, but I am looking forward to taking a shower again.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:20 AM on February 7, 2022 [10 favorites]

There was an archive of old National Geographics at the cabin Up North that we'd always go to for skiing, saunas, or perpetual maintenance jobs. Being bored and a bookworm I'd often page through those when the adults were doing boring adult things in the evenings. So I learned that when those Dodge Caravans first came out the ads proudly touted them as a revolution in station wagon design! Take that splitters, tacos are sandwiches and minivans are wagons.
posted by traveler_ at 10:22 AM on February 7, 2022 [7 favorites]

When I was a kid, as many kids have experienced, it was a common source of eye-rolling listening to adults bitching about how everything is made so much worse than it was in the good old days. Clothing, cars, everything. By the time the 80s rolled around, everything I experienced was already so poorly made in my own experience I figured I be immune to this particular eye-roll. After all, I was already surrounded by incredibly bad, cheap toys, products, computers, mass-produced food, and just generally awash in the consumer garbage of the time.

I'm now kind of old, have adult children of my own, and I'll be damned: almost everything money can buy is even shittier than it was even a mere 20 years ago. Products made with actual wood -- few and far between already -- are made with even shittier wood than ever. Toys are somehow even less durable than the godawful toys I grew up with. The polyethylene density is lower and fragility is higher. When metal materials are used, they're even flimsier. Garments, already pretty disposable 35 years ago, now disintegrate before your very eyes. Software has always had bugs but it's now to the point where the vast majority of software a person encounters in their life is truly terrible from concept to code to deployment, rather than just riddled with bugs but well-intentioned.

The list goes on. Sure, there are still a handful of "buy it for life" kinds of things out there. I buy some of them, even, when I can identify them. It's just that for many things there isn't even an option to purchase something that isn't complete garbage. We have reached the point as a consumer culture where you can either accept a suboptimal solution, be a wealthy enough in both time and money to buy bespoke goods, or just not solve certain kinds of problem.

I find this frustrating and I wind up groaning about it. Solving problems of some kinds is more or less my life's work, so it hurts my soul when bad solutions are the only viable solutions. This turned me into my parents.
posted by majick at 10:23 AM on February 7, 2022 [17 favorites]

New Randy Rainbow today!
posted by Catblack at 10:27 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

So Toyota planned to disable key fob remote start if you don't subscribe to their otherwise-useless "remote service" package. But so far it seems that the Twitter-storm of outrage around it has changed their mind; my 14-month old 2021 Sienna continues to remote start even though my free trial ended after a year.

It is a nice car. With its comfort, capacity, fuel economy, handling, and radar cruise control, I honestly can't imagine a better car for road trips, at any price.
posted by CaseyB at 10:28 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

Retro automobile adjacent: way back before seatbelts we had a Ford Fairlane dubbed The Blue Fairy with vinyl bench seats as slick as ice. My dad enjoyed piling the kids in the back seat and taking turns so hard we ended up in a heap against the door. Do it again! Do it again!
posted by condesita at 10:29 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

Oh, sorry to pop back in so soon, but the car thing seems to be the order of the day and I meant to ask (but not bother to formally Ask, because my actual Question goes deeper than this): Is it even possible to buy a modern, recent-ish car with zero screens and zero touch controls? Does such a thing exist at all?
posted by majick at 10:33 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Minivans are land spaceships.

I do think of my silver Crosstrek as a shuttle/runabout.
posted by curious nu at 10:35 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

You want vans? I got your vans right here.

We've got Exit...Van Left, Vanispheres, Van, Van by Night, and of course, Caress of Krieger.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:35 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Is it even possible to buy a modern, recent-ish car with zero screens and zero touch controls? Does such a thing exist at all?

Probably depends on the base model you're willing to go for and the trim package available, but yes, I know those exist. Like, Hyundai Accents exist without any of these things. Again, base model and trim package.

I'd think they'd want to sell more of these now because of the chip shortage. But who knows?
posted by hippybear at 10:35 AM on February 7, 2022

I still own the first vehicle I ever rode in (when I was 2 days old, going to my home after being born in the hospital) - a 1971 VW Kombi hard-top camper. Her name is Bessie, I'm her second owner (after my parents), and she is now my company vehicle. I love opening up a few of the cabinets to reveal drawings my brother and I did when we were young and naughty and over the moon about Star Wars, back when it was fresh.
Naberius - I also had the equivalent of your Chevy Nova - a 77 Pontiac Ventura. I bought it off my grandparents for a dollar and made 100% profit when I in turn sold it to my cousin for TWO DOLLARS. You're right, it's built like a tank (and handles like one too), and that save my cousin's life when she walked away with only minor injuries after being rear-ended at high speed on the highway by a semi truck.
posted by ikahime at 10:37 AM on February 7, 2022 [10 favorites]

Growing up we had many station wagons. And inevitably either the AC or the power windows would fail somewhere between Topeka and Denver. Oh yeah, once near Laramie.

As an adult, we only had 1 minivan, during our peak children years, a 2000 Toyota Sienna. Had it forever. Was solid. Didn't have a rear-facing seat in the back end like the station wagons did though...
posted by Windopaene at 10:38 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

We have a vehicle my spouse won't let me call a minivan, but an SUV. What's the difference?
...a van is shaped, more or less, like a loaf of bread. An SUV, in contrast, is shaped like a small loaf of bread sitting on top of a larger loaf of bread. Neither is particularly voluptuous, sensuous or even organic. But the minivan (single loaf) is generally regarded as being less attractive — and perhaps less dynamic — than the SUV (two-loaf) profile.
My spouse and I also replaced our ~20-year-old cars recently. We bought low-mileage used cars with good service records. Our old cars were so basic we were amazed with the features that came with our newly-acquired 2015 models. I have a 2015 Honda Civic and it's like driving in a spaceship.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:40 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

ObCar: I frankly don’t care what you call a Forester. I call ours “great.”

What I’m really here for: The part of my brain that has been coping with the pandemic by writing reams of erotica flipped a switch a couple weeks ago. Right in the middle of revising a novel, too. But I’m not annoyed, because it switched me back to translating Tang dynasty poetry again.

And that feels so good.
posted by Quasirandom at 10:41 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

With nicer weather on Sunday, I took a walk. Slipt and fell, broke wrist of smart hand. *sigh* Now have unexpected 8 wk course (give or take) in making dumb hand less dumb. Unexpected bonus: learning to write with non-dominant hand NOT a useless skill.
posted by which_chick at 10:42 AM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

My favorite station wagon memory is leaving Philly, 4th of July weekend 1988 and picking up my friends in New Jersey, New York and Mass on our way to see the Dead and Little Feat in Oxford Maine. Don't quite remember how we ended up in my Grandfather's Plymouth, but we had a helluva good time. We dubbed the car the Loafer Mobile, as you do, and may or may not have picked up many a fellow Deadhead going and coming.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:43 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

Oh god, 70s station wagons were the best, though. Those bench seats without shoulder belts, you could fit 4 in front and 5 in back, and then another 2-3 in the stowage space.

My parents had a green one of these in the 70s. The far back seats were the best. Totally unsafe.
posted by eckeric at 10:43 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

We had a Pinto wagon when I was a kid and my sister and I fought over who got to sit in the way back, we were incapable of sharing. Booma and Boompa had the giant green land yacht wagon with the backward facing flip up seat. Mrs. Calamari had an '01 Forester when we started dating, I would probably go with proto crossover for classification but wouldn't fight the wagon team too hard.

Vacation is going well, went x-country skiing yesterday for the first time in I don't know how many years, and am not feeling it as much as I expected I would today. We finished the first chapter of Mice and Mystics last night. Fun dungeon crawl board game which I would happily recommend.
posted by calamari kid at 10:44 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think I'm just barely old enough to have had the experience of riding in a station wagon with a reverse-facing rearmost seat. It was awesome.

Sure. Unless the wagon seeped exhaust fumes into the rear-facing seat area. Like my dad’s wagon. I’d ride back there for the two-hour drive to the family’s fishing cabin and arrive stoned, long before I knew what stoned was.

My dad was a firefighter. His wagon was a big old Ford behemoth with the vinyl woodgrain sides. But, the vinyl was slowly disintegrating an peeling off. One day, the other guys at the station decided it looked too much like shit, so, they kept dad occupied elsewhere in the station, while a bunch of them stripped the vinyl off and painted the area it was on with flat black paint. It actually looked a hell of a lot better than the crap vinyl did. My dad thought it was hilarious. Firefighters are like that.

My first car was an electric blue ‘77 (‘78?) Dodge Omni. 4-speed manual. Oddly, Dodge sourced the engine for it from VW. So, there was (I think) a 1.6 litre VW engine under the hood. It had VW logos stamped on the block. Fun, basic, little car. I already had a love for hatchbacks thanks to my mom having a metallic brown AMC Gremlin-X.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:44 AM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

My dad owned a small grocery store and meat market when I was growing up in the 1960s. To better compete with the chain grocers that were becoming popular, he offered delivery service to some of his preferred customers. As a result, our family had a new station wagon every few years that was both a family ride and business expense. It was always a Ford, since that was the only new car dealer in town at the time.

I remember going with him to buy a car back in 1968 or so to find the dealership had a new owner, a man who epitomized the wheeler dealer cigar chomping car salesman. It turned out to be this guy before he made it big and moved the business out of town.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:45 AM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

I have a 10+ year old SUV with 160k+ miles on it that we bought for cash two years and a month ago, and according to my back-of-the-envelope math, even accounting for repairs, etc, as of this month we've now spent less than we would have on another stupid lease. So, it's all gravy from here. I'm hoping for 2-3 more years, which may sound ambitious but I drive around 100 miles a month.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:45 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

We didn't have a minivan. We had a Subaru BRAT with the additional seats in the back. The numbers of times I traveled 5 hours each way, every few weeks, on the highway in those back seats between the age of 3 and 7 seems surprising now. It was a lot of fun. That I spent my youth shouting over the wind to ask my mom to turn up the radio playing through the tiny back window seems more risky. (My hearing is, astonishing, pretty good.)

A neighbor had a full-size, avocado-colored van with carpet, swivel chairs, and strange fold-out tables in the back that looked like they were built with household hardware. I got to take a few trips in it, including my own fun birthday trip to go play in the snow when I was around 12. It was an absurd car in every possible way. That they didn't outfit it with camping utilities and instead made it a weird lounge is surprising But, who knows what the parents got up to when the kids were in school.
posted by eotvos at 10:48 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

Minivans are land spaceships.
Van or Astro-Van?
posted by eckeric at 10:48 AM on February 7, 2022 [14 favorites]

There are several YouTubers who post top songs of YEAR in other countries. This has led me to several catchy (to me) songs that I would otherwise never have heard of.

Maisonettes - Heartache Avenue

Egyptian Reggae

Confidence pour Confidence

Finally, here is a short solo piano composition by Steve Reich for an album honoring Nonesuch Records Bob Hurwitz.
posted by wittgenstein at 10:48 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

We bought a Mazda MPV in 2002ish - the minivan with the soul of a sports car! It was like a Honda Odyssey but about 10 grand less. It was a great minivan. I ended up on a bulletin board site of guys that owned MPVs and were always doing outrageous mods to them to compensate for the fact they sold their sports car for a minivan when #DadLife took over.

I miss those subject focused bulletin board sites. Facebook Groups just aren't the same. We sold the MPV in 2008 or so when we bought a horse for our daughter and needed a tow vehicle for the trailer.

I went out to my books and brews book club meetup at a brewery yesterday - first time I've been out anywhere other than the grocery store since around Christmas. Omicron peaked several weeks ago here and the daily infection numbers are approaching pre-Omicron levels so it felt safe again to venture back into the world in a controlled environment. The book club is 5-10 that I know, so not a crowded a concert. Not quite ready for that yet.
posted by COD at 10:50 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

Is it even possible to buy a modern, recent-ish car with zero screens and zero touch controls? Does such a thing exist at all?

As of 2018, backup cameras and an accompanying "video display" are required on all new cars in the US. So your dream of zero screens is unachievable on anything after about the 2019 model year. :/
posted by AgentRocket at 10:50 AM on February 7, 2022 [8 favorites]

Hand to Blob I think my parents owned a Gran Torino when I was very little. As we moved into the eighties (and after my dad died) there was first a VW Rabbit and then a series of Honda Accords.

The only cars I ever owned myself were Hondas, but I live in Europe now and will probably never own or lease a car again.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 10:59 AM on February 7, 2022

Is it even possible to buy a modern, recent-ish car with zero screens and zero touch controls?

My beloved Jeep Wrangler (2017 I think) has no screens or touch controls, everything is buttons & switches and things like 7-segment displays. I love it! But like AgentRocket said in the U.S. backup cameras are mandatory so screens will be with us to stay in newer cars.
posted by traveler_ at 11:01 AM on February 7, 2022

As of 2018, backup cameras and an accompanying "video display" are required on all new cars in the US. So your dream of zero screens is unachievable on anything after about the 2019 model year. :/

Yeah, but for some cars that comes in the form of a video window that appears in the rearview mirror when backing up. So there are no extra screens on the dashboard at all.
posted by hippybear at 11:02 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

It's too bad Honda has discontinued the Fit in North America because Honda Fits are the best cars. They're small, reliable, have lots of cargo space with the fold-flat rears seats, and they look like something a futurist would have designed up in the 1990s.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:02 AM on February 7, 2022 [11 favorites]

Another anecdote from the old days before safety was a thing: my gran had a Mitsubishi Pajero (actually the car I learnt to drive in), and when I was a teenager, we drove to country fairs in it with a trailer, to show her prize ponies.
One time, on the way home, there was a thunder storm. My best friend was in the front seat next to gran, and I was sleeping in the back space (no seats) with the dog. I have heard that the storm was so extreme that they stopped and waited for an hour. When we got home, they were very offended that the dog and I had just slept through the whole drama. My answer, on behalf of the dog and me: well, we were in a Faraday cage, so much safer than we would have been at home under the thatched roof at the farm. We weren't popular that night, the dog and I.
Science is rarely popular...
posted by mumimor at 11:14 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

For those who get motion-sick in cars, what makes it go away?

Nothing. I am only guaranteed not to get sick if I am driving.

I’ve managed to get motion sickness while driving.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 11:19 AM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

On July 4th 1996 I was sleeping in the back of a Subaru stationwagon pack full of stuff including a cat. It was hot, I went to see Independence Day and hadn't yet run into my friends or decided whether I'd stay or keep moving along. Found them that weekend at the usual places and moved in with them to sleep on a couch for a while because one of them was moving out of the house in a month. Such began the year of living with a wolf. A terribly nice wolf, never bothered my cat at all but really strange to say "what's up" to a not-a-dog.

Not really my favorite car. That would be a little Italian red 850cc rear engine FIat convertible with racing shocks and tires with a top speed of maybe 90MPH with a tailwind.... but would take those corners that say 30MPH at 60 and not even break a sweat. Big boy go-kart.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:21 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

We randomly discovered "Sandwiches That You Will Like" and when I tweeted about it all the Yinzers in my feed got super excited about Rick Sebak. It was fun.

A Subaru Forester is a wagon with more ground clearance, but in comparison with the Crosstrek and Outback it looks the least like a wagon. I don't hold to the body-on-frame definition of an SUV, and Subaru calls them all SUVs, but only the Ascent actually pings the SUV meter in my head.

We never had a wagon or a minivan. By the time minivans were a thing I was the only kid at home and they wouldn't have been a consideration at all, but even before that my parents just stuffed us all into the back seat of my mom's coupe. Would a sedan have been a better choice for a family with three kids? Probably, but my dad had a thing against cars with more than two doors. However many weird idiosyncrasies I have, I can always take comfort in the fact my dad had more.
posted by fedward at 11:25 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

We were a Volkswagen family. My dad owned a type 2 V.W. Bus that we drove all over the place, and later a Vanagon that we also drove all over the place.
posted by chrchr at 11:26 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

They were brave, foolish people.

I like them already!
posted by Paul Slade at 11:26 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

My earliest memory, roughly age 4 (1971), is my Dad leaning out the window of our eastern Connecticut rental house yelling at the neighborhood kids, who were picking at the giant rust holes of his 1962 Rambler station wagon. We eventually ditched that and my mom got a (used, my parents first new car was not until the late-1970s) AMC Sportabout Hornet, which was ugly, as that was the brand-ethos of AMC. He traded his Olds Cutlass for a Buick Vista Cruiser wagon which had one of those rear-facing rear seats, which we drove, along with the AMC, across the country when we moved to Washington in 1976.

I like wagons over vans, (or as the Brits label wagons, "estates" or "shooting brakes", though the terms are not really interchangeable, referring to specific types of wagon). I especially like bespoke estates created on top of cars you'd never think of as wagons, like the Lynx Eventer, a very expensive conversion of the already expensive Jaguar XJS coupe. A V12 station wagon! Never owned one, never will, given financial realities I face these days, though I have had a couple of (very) used XJS's.
posted by maxwelton at 11:27 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I’ve managed to get motion sickness while driving.

This is truly impressive.
posted by JanetLand at 11:29 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I got my mom's Toyota Sienna when she retired. I have since modified it for offroading. It's great for camping because it's basically a huge box. It has more sleeping space than my bed at home.

Here are some pics from my last trip 3 weeks in the Mojave.
posted by ryanrs at 11:31 AM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

Growing up, we didn't have a minivan, but our neighbors did. I'd occasionally drive it, when he had to take his sports car into the shop. (I'd drive the minivan to the dealer, and he'd drive us home.) When my wife and I had a kid, we got a Caravan. For long trips, we'd take out the middle seat, lay down a chair cushion, and it would be great. (It helped that we had a portable TV/VCR and fridge.)
My first car was my mom's 1968 Mustang, which was also her first car. I actually learned in a Galaxy 500, which I drove terribly. After driving the Mustang once, I wasn't allowed behind the wheel of the Galaxy. (Not that I wanted to drive it.) After I left for college, my parents sold it for what they paid for it, new.
posted by Spike Glee at 11:32 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

I too lament the loss of the Fit. I got one a couple of years ago and it’s a great car.
posted by notoriety public at 11:32 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

It's too bad Honda has discontinued the Fit in North America because Honda Fits are the best cars. They're small, reliable, have lots of cargo space with the fold-flat rears seats, and they look like something a futurist would have designed up in the 1990s.

We have a Fit, and I agree the hauling space in the thing is impressive. It's almost a TARDIS on wheels. That said, they're terribly underpowered, and it's all but impossible to clean the inside of that long, sloping windshield.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:34 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

We had an Oldsmobile station wagon with a back facing seat - my brother and I enjoyed a game of closing each other into the rear well and putting the seat down.

My Dad died suddenly at the end of October and I ended a short (6+ months) abusive relationship with some one I thought was "The One" in December and I think this is the first Valentine's Day where I feel lonely and a little heartsick and it's weird. I've been single for plenty of Valentine's Days, but this is the first one where I'm not getting a card from my Dad.
posted by BooneTheCowboyToy at 11:34 AM on February 7, 2022 [20 favorites]

Hey, BooneTheCowboyToy: *hugs*
posted by hippybear at 11:36 AM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

I have one of the last wagons that was on sale in America - a Buick Regal TourX I love this car. Nothing beats having a wagon.

Forrester = Large crossover, my friend owns one and hates how bloaty it is.

Sandwiches we like = The breaded pork tenderloin

I've also owned an AstroVan & my family had a Volvo wagon & a Pinto 2 door wagon in my youth.
posted by djseafood at 11:38 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

What are your favorite sandwiches?

When I was little, my favorite sandwich was green olives and pepperoni on white bread, which is basically a salt lick in sandwich form.

As an adult, I'll take a grilled swiss cheese with caramelized onions (mushrooms or wilted spinach nice but optional) or a BLT or simply tomato sandwich when it's tomato season. We are in the stretch of winter when tomato season feels very far away.
posted by the primroses were over at 11:41 AM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

My sister just gave me a lovely grey cardigan as a belated Christmas present. It fits perfectly.

Last time she gave me a lovely sweater, her husband leaned over to me when she wasn't looking and whispered in my ear: "What did I buy you?"

I have too many sweaters.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:44 AM on February 7, 2022

51 years old. I grew up with 2 other siblings in a 2-car family. My mom drove the nice car (an Audi when they cost less than $9,000) that had air conditioning. My dad had two different VW Beetles over the years, a 1970, then a '72. Guess which car I used to drive?

After my dad got rid of the 2nd Beetle (my older brother drove that one as "his car") he custom-ordered a Saturn with no air conditioning. My dad is a stoic who always claimed to hate AC, and his other argument against it was the gas savings, because carrying around a heavy AC unit uses more gasoline. Their cars got nicer after that, when my dad left the Navy (yep, he was a Viet Nam vet and an engineer) and made more money and my mom started working again.

Anyway, as little kids, my dad would drive all three of us in the tiny little VW to the Naval base to go swimming, for instance. 20 mile drives each way. It's insane how much he used to commute in those tiny cars. Bonus is: learning to drive a stick shift car with no power steering/clutch/brakes REALLY teaches you how to drive.

Somehow we survived childhood without an enormous SUV/minvan/station wagon.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:48 AM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

My grade school years were in the 1970s. Of COURSE I have been a child sitting in "the way-back" in a station wagon.

I was a super-skinny kid, to boot, so I was often folded up like a pocket handkerchief and sharing the way-back with folding chairs and beach totes and such when our family and the neighbors went on beach outings, because I was the only kid skinny enough to fit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:53 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Family vehicles in chronological order:

Pre-divorce from my dad, early 70s: a van of some kind. My favorite story about this is that my grandparents (stuffy, protestant) gave my parents a nice handwoven "oriental" rug for their hippy, religious, and very jewish wedding, and they cut the rug down to carpet the inside of the van.

New relationship, I was under 2: VW bus of some kind. I remember at least one cross-Canada trip with several of my stepsiblings inside, no seatbelts, no real back seats, a dog and a cat and a camping heater and some lead ballast for the boat all sloshing around in there.

Post-VW, I was maybe 5?: Ford F150 nicknamed the White Wonder. It had a cap. The advantage, for my mom and stepdad, was that they could close the little window behind the cab and not have to listen to all 5 of us, the dog, the cat, the lead ballast etc. in the back. No seats, we spent the days inside our sleeping bags. We did several cross-Canada trips in this one before it was repo-ed.

1987: a new Dodge Caravan. It had rear seats with seatbelts and everything. My stepdad kept this in the split and drove it for many many years afterwards. He picked me up at the train station in it the last time I visited him (in 1996) with a beer between his knees as was customary, and I noticed that his seatbelt was made of rope. I did not have a driver's license at this time in my life and resolved never to visit him again unless I could avoid getting in a car with him driving; this is one of many reasons we only saw each other in person once after that.

I think it's safe to say there has only recently been a new family vehicle for me, the Prius V we bought when I was pregnant. We paid it off in 2020 and it's been a great station wagon. Don't know why they stopped making them.

Re: sandwiches. I used to go to the kosher deli with my mom and get a salami sandwich on rye with mild mustard, and the meat would be super thinly sliced but so piled up that it was about 2 inches thick. Washed down with a root beer, what a meal. Winnipeg Rye, kept in a bread drawer under the counter, so soft with a chewy crust.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 11:55 AM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

I learned how to drive in a Dodge extended Grand Caravan. It had extra trunk space. I hated it, I never got comfortable driving it.

AgentRocket - there is a cookbook for your sandwiches.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 11:57 AM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I rode in a minivan taxi this morning. Yes, a real taxi, not Uber. I got excited as I flagged it down, thinking it was going to be a luxurious amount of space for my groceries but was soon reminded of the bait and switch minivan taxi that is handicap accessible. I had forgotten that they all are here. I’m glad that they exist, but really detest sitting in the back bench with 5 feet of empty minivan in front of me, my feet dangling six inches off the floor wondering if the seatbelt will hold as we speed onto the expressway, or if I will be flung across into the driver’s lap.
posted by Bunglegirl at 11:57 AM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

I loved our Fit. We upgraded to the HRV for a little more shoulder room, and we like it, but I think the Fit may have actually had just as much or more storage space. It was miraculous how much we could cram into it.
posted by PussKillian at 11:58 AM on February 7, 2022

I like wagons over vans, (or as the Brits label wagons, "estates" or "shooting brakes", though the terms are not really interchangeable, referring to specific types of wagon). I especially like bespoke estates created on top of cars you'd never think of as wagons, like the Lynx Eventer, a very expensive conversion of the already expensive Jaguar XJS coupe. A V12 station wagon! Never owned one, never will, given financial realities I face these days, though I have had a couple of (very) used XJS's.

OMG, the Lynx Eventer, my dream car for decades. Now I am trying to align my dreams with the post-carbon reality
posted by mumimor at 12:01 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Favourite sandwich: “prosciutto e fichi”, a seasonal (late-summer) option typically available here in Rome, consisting of freshly unovened pizza bianca, sliced open and filled with a couple of thin slices of prosciutto plus two or three ripe figs.

When I was little we’d drive down from Düsseldorf to Italy in a 1970’s VW Bus, the main section of which was one big mattress we read/slept/played/rolled around on, during the entire, multi-day trip.

(Come to think of it, there might be a connection between these two things.)
posted by progosk at 12:03 PM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

My first car was the hand me down Dodge Caravan. It was an ex-taxi that had rolled the odometer when my family bought it and it was well on the way to rolling in over again when it became mine. The heater would pump out a little heat right away, but just enough to keep the frost at bay. To actually warm the interior, a large space heater was installed between the front seats. In blew air like a tornado but didn't make any heat for 5+ minutes. Bonus: it was controlled by a switch on the end of a pigtail of twisted wires. If you bridged the switch connectors with your hand when turning if off you got a nice shock.

The first year I had the car, I volunteered to drive all of the Christmas wrapping paper to the farm and throw it in the incinerator because... you know, fire. So I load the paper and boxes in the van along with a box of matches, some newspaper and a can of white gas. I drive to the farm and start a nice big fire and burn up all of the paper and boxes. Being responsible, I threw on enough snow to make sure the fire is truly dead and then load up the supplies and head home.

Traffic on the way back is crazy. We were backed up up for a good kilometer and it took forever to get near enough to see what's going on. There's a police check stop and they seem to be questioning everyone. I'm thinking, surely they can't be doing sobriety checks at 2:00pm on Boxing Day so I turn on the radio to see if there's any news. Oh, yes there is. They are looking for a teenage suspect driving a grey van suspected of arson. I'm sitting with a box of matches and a can of naphtha seatbelted in the passenger seat. The heater in the van was awful, but as I heard that radio report the temperature shot up about 30 degrees in an instant.

There were two cars between me and the police when they suddenly shut down the road block and drove off. I have never felt such a sense of relief in my entire life!
posted by flyingfox at 12:06 PM on February 7, 2022 [7 favorites]

Wait, progosk, we have been driving next to each other on the autobahn! We were in a Renault 4
My brother and I still have sweet memories of a cold pizza Rosso at a café somewhere in Toscana.
posted by mumimor at 12:07 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

My horrible Taurus is back. I spent too much money on a rebuilt transmission, and now it is back! The guy who does the transmissions kept it for nearly 3 frikkin months! The cabin smells like cigarettes! I don't often make much of appearances but he guy who did it was so craggy he was like someone grafted a Nick Nolte onto Nick Nolte.

Anyway my horrible car is back. Viva Esmeralda*

*for it is she.
posted by aesop at 12:11 PM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

The land yachts I learned to drive on were Fords in the Gran Torino mold--an actual Gran Torino in drivers ed, and this behemoth my parents had, a Ford Ranch Wagon. I miss station wagons, I really do. That thing had a V8 that could send you up a 16 percent grade hill in picoseconds, man. It was like you were in a rocket ship. It looks sort of yellow in that picture, doesn't it? It wasn't. I mean, sometimes it was, sometimes it was this pale, pale almost green. Almost yellow. Not even chartreuse! Just a completely indescribable color that doesn't actually exist as we know it. I have no idea how they conjured up that paint shade, it probably only is truly visible by that shrimp or something.

Dad was a loyal Ford man all the way, sometimes a Dodge if he needed a van or truck, and he was always buying cars (though we had that Ranch Wagon for a really long time). One day we gasped when he came home with a giant Chevy truck with dual rear wheels, another vehicle I had driving lessons in. That thing was crazy--it had two fuel tanks, you sat way up high in the cab, and the front end was bananas heavy but without a load, the back end would skitter all over on wet pavement. I was complaining about how hard it was to brake suddenly in it and my friend said, "If you hit someone, it won't matter to you. You're sitting on top of two tons of Detroit steel." I told that story to my Swedish exchange student friends and they just adored that, they loved sitting in that thing and going for rides in it. Apparently, they told a lot of people that story when they got home, because whenever a visiting student came to the Seattle area who knew my friends, they'd get in touch with me and they would also ask if they could go for a ride in the two tons of Detroit steel.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 12:12 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Minivans are land spaceships.

I learned to drive in our silver Plymouth Voyager. Our high school graduating class had a city-wide scavenger hunt, I borrowed the minivan, and we attached nacelles to it to make it look like a Star Trek shuttlecraft. The nacelles were made of cardboard and did not survive high school senior highway speeds.
posted by iceberg273 at 12:20 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Much to my chagrin, as a teenager I had to learn to drive in a minivan, as my family had two. It was an overlapping practical purchase thing, to finish driving my sister back and forth to college and later, me. It sucked.
posted by tiny frying pan at 12:22 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Now we are into great mounds of steel that are like rocket ships, I'd like to mention that time when my granddad asked me to drive his SAAB Turbo to Italy. SAAB was part of the Swedish military industrial complex, and that car was if not a spaceship, then a fighter airplane without the wings. When you stepped on the speeder, it literally felt like you were about to fly.
On the way home from Italy, one day, I was riding in the far left lane of the autobahn, and wondering where all those usual aggressive Porches and Audis were at. Well, it turned out I was going 200 KM an hour and I was the aggressive driver. I didn't even have to put on the long lights. The point is, you didn't feel it. It felt like driving my comfortable and very safe old Volvo.
posted by mumimor at 12:23 PM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

It's too bad Honda has discontinued the Fit in North America because Honda Fits are the best cars.
Our current car is a 2018 Fit. It is indeed the perfect urban automobile. I was sorely disappointed when I heard that they had stopped selling them here.

I have never owned a minivan or SUV, but did own a 2003 Subaru Legacy wagon for about 10 years. It barely qualified as a staion wagon compared to the massive Chevy wagons my parents always had back in the '70s, but it had enough room for almost anything we needed to transport. The Fit holds just about the same amount of stuff in a smaller package.

There isn't a Rick Sebak documentary I haven't loved. Sandwiches, ice cream, hot dogs, breakfast, Pennsylvania diners, bakeries, amusement parks, flea markets, drive-ins, every single one.
posted by briank at 12:25 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

My first car was my mom's Dodge Caravan with something like 190,000 miles on it. I was in my mid-twenties when I got it, having been a pedestrian through college and grad school, and I disliked it immensely but free was the right price for it.

One night, someone stole the Dodge Caravan from where it was parked in front of my apartment complex. I was absolutely perplexed about why someone would ever want to steal a Dodge Caravan with 190,000 miles on it. The answer turned up when it was discovered that someone else at my apartment complex had their motorcycle stolen: they stole the Caravan solely in order to transport the motorcycle.

The Dodge Caravan did eventually turn up, smelling horribly of tobacco smoke. And this is why I never got into the Dresden Files: I had left volume 1 of the series, barely started, in the minivan before it was stolen, and after it turned up, I couldn't read it because of the smoke smell, but didn't care enough to replace it, either.
posted by Jeanne at 12:33 PM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

Our family had both a station wagon and a minivan growing up. I definitely preferred the minivan (a Dodge Caravan) of the two, tho old Datsun station wagons weren't the pinnacle of comfort either. I'm pretty blase about cars as a status symbol so I never really cared about driving the van around.
posted by Aleyn at 12:34 PM on February 7, 2022

I am the proud owner of a 2019 Honda Fit and am excited to slap the roof and put so many memes in it.
posted by crossswords at 12:37 PM on February 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

On my list of First-World Grievances (the corrolary to First World Problems), people who buy SUVs when they would be better served by getting a minivan are right up there with people who spend $300+ to overpopulate their pricey suburban neighborhoods with LFLs.

When I was part of a suburban family with kids and dogs and the whole lot, we had a minivan, and when that minivan got smushed by a falling suburban tree, we went out and bought another nearly identical minivan with the insurance money. That minivan could fit an entire full-sized couch AND loveseat in it.
posted by drlith at 12:54 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

We bought a Mazda MPV in 2002ish - the minivan with the soul of a sports car!

Soon after we had our first child, we found that we had to part with our DINK-mobile (BMW 3-series coupe) and look into something more hauling-kids-n-crap friendly. We tested an MPV, and really liked it. Plenty of power and great handling, especially for a minivan.

In the end, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to go minivan. We went with a 5-speed Nissan Maxima (the 4-Door Sports Car) Drove that thing over 300,000 miles. Loved it so much, we replaced it with another one. Drove that one to over 400,000 miles. Great cars.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:59 PM on February 7, 2022

My excellent cousin Jack, now deceased, told me of the bears which live in King's Canyon, California; and their unfettered love for human food. The bear walked over to their long, green station wagon, with the electric back window, and using his clever claws, took down the window with one effort. The bear took out the cooler and removed the bacon, ate a coupla items outright, then sauntered off, stopping at the picnic table to eat the bacon grease out of a shallow can. Tucking the package of bacon under his arm, went on his way.

Once my younger brother got his driver's license, the push button transmission in our giant green wagon, didn't last a month.

I have had a VW bug, a '71 VW bus that I made into a camper, I have been driving an '85 VW Westfalia since 2006. My grandson asks, "Grandma, what is your dream car?" I say, "I am driving it."
posted by Oyéah at 1:03 PM on February 7, 2022 [11 favorites]

Good lord, I had completely forgotten Monkeyfilter. I have lived too long. Speaking of living too long, I used to absolutely adore chatting on CompuServe (GO HOM-9) and it made me manic as heck. I type fast and think faster and it made me positively giddy. I know I absolutely swamped a lot of people. So I stay out of chat environments now. All my important conversationst take place via text, but most often one-to-one and the people I talk to feel no pressure to reply before they're ready.

My uncle had a VW bus and five children, and my sister, brother and I used to load in with all of them and rattle like maraca beans inside, no seat belts, while my uncle lost his temper with everyone and occasionally stopped to tell us all off.
posted by Peach at 1:09 PM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

When I was finishing my master's degree at LSU in the mid-1990s there was a great place by my apartment in Tigerland where you could get an amazing pork chop sandwich. I ate so many of those bad boys. Mmm...
posted by wintermind at 1:13 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

My favorite sandwich last summer was about 5oz of pan-fried leftover deli sliced hot ham on a sesame seed hoagie roll with mustard and garlic butter, and a long pickle slice and swiss cheese, which is 100% not on my current diet at all. Harumph.
posted by Kyol at 1:18 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

For those who get motion-sick in cars, what makes it go away? I am OK if I can see out the windshield but if not, I get horribly nauseated and overwarm, always have, especially if I try to read.

From what I've been told, motion sickness in cars specifically comes from not being able to see where you're going. So seeing out the windshield IS the answer.

Solving problems of some kinds is more or less my life's work, so it hurts my soul when bad solutions are the only viable solutions.

Hahahaha, be glad you don't work in my office, where there are frequently NO solutions or we have to do missing stair workarounds for everything.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:22 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

any Edmontonians can speak to the downtown Italian Centre deli counter.. you could order a magnificent sandwich there, and I'll never forget the service from the guys when I ordered.. very efficient, "What can I get for ya, boss" and then my partner at the time, tall brunette, orders.. suddenly the young guys are chatty and jokey and effusive and it was very much a Romance culture moment
posted by elkevelvet at 1:32 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

I despise the display unit in my car. The brightness auto-adjust.. doesn't, I hate having all these stupid app icons that I never use, hate not being able to put app icons on there I WOULD use. I dream of tearing it out and replacing it with something better. Haven't had the money and/or mental capacity to try and get that figured out, though. And you can't turn it off. I need less sensory input when I'm driving.
posted by curious nu at 1:33 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oh wow uh I have some strong feelings about that.
posted by curious nu at 1:36 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

> For those who get motion-sick in cars, what makes it go away? I am OK if I can see out the windshield but if not, I get horribly nauseated and overwarm, always have, especially if I try to read.

From what I've been told, motion sickness in cars specifically comes from not being able to see where you're going. So seeing out the windshield IS the answer.

Seconding this. I get motion sickness specifically when I try to read in cars; trains and planes and such are okay, but cars or buses, forget it. Looking out the window alleviates it.

...This proved to be a challenge during that one year that I was working in New Jersey; I had to get a NJ Transit bus in Port Authority and go through the Lincoln Tunnel and get off on the first stop on the other side. The bus trip took 10 minutes in the morning....and 45 minutes back through to the New York side every night. So I was stuck on a bus for 45 minutes every day before the 45 minute subway ride home; and I couldn't read during that 45 minutes. It was a special hell.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:40 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm thinking of a thing. Some of us have beautiful memories of driving. Maybe we need some sort of ritual or something to say good bye and thank you to the cars, so we can all move on.
posted by mumimor at 1:43 PM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

Wait, progosk, we have been driving next to each other on the autobahn! We were in a Renault

Kraftwerk are from Düsseldorf, so it was all about “Wir fahr‘n fahr‘n fahr‘n auf der Autobahn…“

The Renault I most remember was the one whose name seemed like such a mystery to me, the Döschwo. (It was the “deux chevaux”, but I only learned French many years later…)
posted by progosk at 1:44 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

We leased a 2016 Forester new out of the box, and it had the exact same exterior dimensions as the battered old 2003 Mazda MPV we were using as a teenager car at the time. When the Forester went back to the dealer and the MPV gave up the ghost, we got the teenagers a 2005 Forester. Totally different car. That model line went from "slightly tall station wagon" to "minivan without sliding doors" in two generations. A pity.

I own a 2012 Sienna XLE that I got used in 2017 for the waning years of kid chauffeuring, and it has grown on me over the years. I've done #vanlife solo camping trips in it, I've brought home sheets of plywood in the cavernous interior, I've hauled three couples out for dinner with room for everyone to be comfy. It's safe, reliable, and a shockingly smooth ride. My family has deemed it the best road trip car, and they are right.
posted by sockshaveholes at 1:50 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oh! And also? Subaru CVT is the absolute worst. That 2016 Forester bucked and hopped and twitched on the road. EVERYONE except the driver got motion sick riding in it. We tried to use cruise control as much as possible.
posted by sockshaveholes at 1:52 PM on February 7, 2022

I remember encountering a photoshopped image on the internet of everyone's ideal in-car "infotainment system." It was a featureless blank plate across the space where the radio goes adorned with a Bluetooth symbol and a big-ass knob. I've made feeble efforts to find this image again because it is still true.

I had a favorite sandwich however it no longer exists. In keeping with my curmudgeonly oldness today I'll explain why: The twin brothers who owned the deli around the corner from me retired and sold the business to a woman who seems to think that "yell at your employees" is what her job description is. Anything that isn't doing that -- such as making sandwiches or accepting currency from your customers or even something passive like letting her employees actually do things -- comes a distant second fiddle to her life's work of barking at people who work for her. Every single one of the original employees fled, leaving the place staffed by a few new folks just out of school to take up the work. I've heard them actively soliciting better work from customers. They're no longer getting deliveries of bread daily which I consider the death knell of a top-notch sandwich joint and possibly the worst place to make your first cost cuts as a brand-new deli owner.

I've gone in there to buy a carton of milk (because it wasn't sandwich time) and stood at the register for 15 minutes because nobody, including said owner, was willing to accept my money or even acknowledge my presence. I no longer attempt to do so.

It's the latest in a long line of business that seem to go downhill when the owner retires. My old dentist sold the practice to his partner who was very upsell-happy and not a great dentist. My old optometrist did the same except the kid he handed the practice to is straight up bad at his job. Our vet is about to retire. I've met the new one and am optimistic.

So many good, mature businesses seem to go down the tubes when a new owner shows up full of the anxiety of repaying their small business loan, somehow unable to notice that the way the previous owner ran the joint was enough to take them to retirement and that change should be approached cautiously when a formula is successful.

Change is great when used to make things better. Change is awful when it's not. I've been a curmudgeon most of my life but I'm an old one now.

Oh, and yes, I absolutely, positively can not read in cars. I will immediately get carsick. It has been this way since I reached early adolescence and I am sensitive enough to it that sometimes just reading a piece of paper with an address on it is too much.
posted by majick at 1:55 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

As much as I love my Honda Fit for being an incredibly practical little workhorse, I do miss that Volvo 240 and boringly "safe" Swedish cars. In the late 80s/early 90s, it seemed like Volvo (and to a lesser extent Saab) occupied a rare position of being neither particularly performance or luxury....they were just safe and boring. And weird (especially Saabs with their hoods that tilted forwards and the ignition located in the console between the front seats)
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:58 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

vaguely recall mg; remember gas lines from the back of a plymouth sedan. the cherished memories are for the international harvester scout -- which sometimes we drove out onto frozen lakes for ice-fishing purposes -- followed closely by the jeep cherokee, in sequence and dearness, iirc. the appeal of cherokees has fluctuated since, but i've mostly had small modest cars. recently some kid destroyed my mini and i have bought a used suv, because little lurk's mom wants to get a towable camper and her cr-v isn't powerful enough. it is more car than i need, but i am up out of the blinding direct brightness of contemporary headlights that seem to always be high beams but maybe aren't. huge fuel-efficiency tradeoff. boo. i do look forward to sometimes using all that extra space: yesterday i hauled an electric range.
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:04 PM on February 7, 2022

For a long time I was driving a Toyota Highlander that I liked a lot and that my wife was scared to drive. It's center console had a built-in GPS system with maps that got increasingly inaccurate as time went by and that could not be updated except at the dealership, for a cost. Bluetooth worked for music, though.

Just a few months ago we finally caved in to the necessity of acquiring a third car, as our kid is now in school and working. We went to lease a new car, this one for my wife. It's a new Corolla hybrid, much smaller than the Highlander. The day we picked it up, I told my wife I was jealous of the center console in the new car, because you could just hook your phone up to it and use Google Maps.

She proposed switching cars on the spot. She'd gotten over her fear of driving the bigger vehicle while using it during the winter, and the new car was "too weird" for her tastes. Specifically, the silent operation when the electric motor was engaged, and the strange pneumatic/electronic noise the transmission makes. So now I'm driving the Corolla.

Grant Morrison has started a substack. It's early days yet, I can't tell if the content is going to be awesome or the most eyerollingly self-indulgent thing he's ever done.
posted by Ipsifendus at 2:07 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Just out of cardiac cath lab. All went well. New stent in right coronary artery (RCA). Left anterior descending (LAD) artery with old stent is fine. Immobile for a couple more hours due to holes made in radial (wrist) and femoral (groin) arteries. Home later today.
posted by neuron at 2:08 PM on February 7, 2022 [19 favorites]

We needed to pick up a second four wheel vehicle after moving out of walking distance from Mrs. Calamari's workplace last fall. Wasn't happy to be shopping for such in the current market, but the motorcycle wasn't going to be able to get the job done in snow and ice. Wound up with an '08 Scion XB which I've been pretty happy with so far. It can haul a surprising amount of cargo to Goodwill or the recycling center, and the small size is perfect for getting around in the city.
posted by calamari kid at 2:10 PM on February 7, 2022

Car short takes!

- my 2009 CRV (example) which I inherited from my dad hit 100K miles this week. I had been solidly on TEAM FORRESTER before that (example) but I don't like their new body. No screen in the CRV, so good.
- My folks had a Volvo wagon (side view here) when I was a kid and the wayback was the BEST except that my mom was convinced we would surely die if we opened the window even a little bit so it wasn't as fun as when other kids' parents would let us ride in the wayback with the windows open. Some parents would let us ride in the backs of pickup trucks, good times.
- My first high school boyfriend had one of those fancy vans with the bed in the back and all the rest (not pictures, alas, I think it had a centaur on the side of it?). It was really his dad who bought it but he got to drive it. It was fun to cruise around in. He grew up into a nice normal adult but his dad grew up into a bit of a handsy creeper.
- I had a van which was basically just a panel van that I put a bed in the back of (example) and drove x-country with (with MeFite jammy!)
- I had one of those faux-wood-paneled station wagons that seated basically eight adults and LOVED it even though it got abysmal mileage. Was great to take to the drive-in
- If I had to, in the before times, rent a car that had one of those super bright screeny things (example) in it, the first things I'd be figuring out how to do was to turn the damned screens off. I'm surprised how terrible most of the user interfaces are. Like, at night it would seem to be a liability to have a really bright screen in your peripheral vision.

Jim's snoozing. I feel headachey and like winter will never end. We took a two mile walk in the warmish (for here, 30's) weather and then I let him hammer on the roof ice with a hammer and he tired himself out. Good times.
posted by jessamyn at 2:13 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

Change is great when used to make things better. Change is awful when it's not.

I continue to be baffled that EVERY SINGLE TIME when they upgrade a program at work, they get WORSE and lose functionality. Our database went from about 90% functionality to 70% and YOU CAN TELL. It takes me 20 minutes of agony to try to get some things to work now. Half of the US zip codes were deleted out and cause error messages. It's ridiculous bad how we can't deal with tech here.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:13 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I don't have Bluetooth in my car, so I used to be in the habit of switching between five different radio stations.

Then I got in a Twitter beef with the owner of one of the radio stations because of my frustration that they play a lot of 90s grunge/alternative stuff but none of the good grunge/alternative stuff that women were doing in the 90s. I may have said "Play Veruca Salt, you cowards."

So I was down to four radio stations.

For two weeks now, two of those radio stations have been having technical problems - they're fine within the metro area, but I'm an hour outside the metro area, and they're just static.

Down to two. And neither of those is particularly good, mind you, but they're about as good as you can expect in central Iowa.

I am definitely regretting not getting my car stereo upgraded the last time I had some money to spend.
posted by Jeanne at 2:19 PM on February 7, 2022 [6 favorites]

@Jeanne - $25 on Amazon will get you a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the accessory jack for your car stereo. I've used one for years in my 2011 Camry - works may more reliably than the factory Bluetooth in any car I've ever owned.
posted by COD at 2:26 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

And even if you don't have AUX jacks, you can get a Bluetooth adapter which has a small FM transmitter in it.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:27 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the accessory jack for your car stereo

This is exactly what I do! My 2011 Suzuki SX4 is a fricken' workhorse. A tiny, no-frills workhorse. 87K miles on it and it's needed nothing but oil changes, tires and brake pads. It's too bad they don't sell them in the US anymore.
posted by mrgoat at 2:32 PM on February 7, 2022

I saw a couple Nissan Cubes on the highway weeks back, and immediately requested my partner look up "that clown car song" because I always sing it when I see those cars.
So I immediately learned the name of the song, which is Thunder and Blazes: Entry of the Gladiators , but I also learned that I can vanquish any earworm attempts with, "Doot doot dooty dooty doot doot doot doot, ....."
It's been far too cold to work on my car, and I feel so bad when I go visit it in its current home. It looks so bare, the paint is oxidizing like mad, the hood is leaning against the garage wall, but, hey at least we got the guts neatly stacked on a shelf instead of spread all over. Somehow I hope we can start work again this year, although it looks like my teeth are going to require all the money I was going to blow on metal flake paint job.
I grew up driving boats before cars, so 70's era autos were easy peasy. I was very proud to drive the gigantic family station wagon while towing a 17' ski boat through a long night, my normally grouchy parents slept the whole time.
I have half a leftover pastrami sandwich in the fridge, I'm rich I'm rich!
posted by winesong at 2:45 PM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

I got one of those $25 Bluetooth adapters. It works really, really poorly - I have to turn the volume up as high as it will go to hear much. (My hearing is fine.) (Genuinely.)
posted by Jeanne at 2:46 PM on February 7, 2022

jebus, I'm old.
posted by theora55 at 3:25 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

My first car: A '72 Ford Pinto. Yes, the one that used to explode.
My current car: a Fit. I like it except that day I was backing up and grazed the side of a snowbank and the entire plastic front bumper came off. My mechanic reattached it with screws.

A properly made Rueben is always at the top of my list.

Well, pity me then. I went from living on Long Island to living in rural Maryland, and I have never ordered a Rueben here that in any way resembled a Rueben. I don't understand it.
posted by acrasis at 3:30 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

And even if you don't have AUX jacks, you can get a Bluetooth adapter which has a small FM transmitter in it.

We have two cars, both of which are old enough to need this device which for reasons I might explain we call a "kai chi." Each car has a different device from a different vendor purchased at a different time, and both work adequately.

I have to turn the volume up as high as it will go to hear much.

Okay, so this is something I wind up forgetting repeatedly myself but it may be useful: With a Bluetooth gadget such as this, there are two volume controls. One is the stereo itself which controls the output. The other, and this might come as a surprise, is the device you paired with it like a phone, which is the input. Instead of turning up the stereo, try bumping your phone's volume all the way up. Many phones will even remember that this is just your Bluetooth volume and not remain in RIDICULOUS LOUD MODE when you leave the car.
posted by majick at 3:34 PM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

I’ve managed to get motion sickness while driving.

This is truly impressive.

do you have a pair of windshield wipers on the inside?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:47 PM on February 7, 2022

The only car my parents would let me drive in 1980s highschool was the Dodge Caravan. Sure it was lame, except for one saving grace. I could easily remove the back seat bench, and then if we were at the drive in, car camping, a bonfire, or anywhere kids hung out...I had a sofa.

Fuck you, Camarokid, I'm on a couch.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:49 PM on February 7, 2022

Cooking for mrs. kingless is so much fun! She had a tough day at school today, wrangling 4-7 year-old kids in cold rain. I made guasacaca, lemon broccoli, and fish. She had all that with leftover roasted potatoes and being there while she savored it all was the best part of my day by far.
posted by kingless at 3:50 PM on February 7, 2022 [10 favorites]

Play Veruca Salt, you cowards.

Marry me.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:51 PM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

I drive a 2020 Toyota Camry. This is, to my limited experience, a luxury car. It argues with me every morning. (Yes, yes, put on your seat belt. Yes! Dammit! I'm aware of that a-hole walking behind me!) If "luxury" is "not married", then I'm aces!

Currently reading, "The 1619 Project."
posted by SPrintF at 4:16 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

I've never owned a minivan but, all my adult life, I've had to own 'practical' cars to carry kids, camping gear, all the detritus that goes with being a dad. I've had some great cars, but not really anything I truly enjoyed owning or driving. So now my kids are grown and (mostly) gone and I'm not bleeding money from every orifice to pay for schooling etc, I bought a car just for me.

It's a 1961 Ford F100 Unibody set up for drag racing, but street-registered. It can legally carry three people, but has no capacity whatsoever to carry anything else, because to put anything other than a blanket in the tray would ruin the polished timber floor and impeccably glossy sides and tailgate. It gets 3mpg (98 octane only, of course) and is so loud that the stereo is absolutely useless no matter how far you turn the volume up (from inside - outside it's not too bad). Doesn't idle at the lights unless I bump it into neutral, needs constant attention to keep the engine in tune and needs to be kept out of the weather.

Pretty much useless for almost anything, in other words. But man, driving that thing makes me feel like a king and, when I step on the throttle and feel that push backwards, all the impracticalities fade into oblivion. Being selfish can feel so good sometimes!
posted by dg at 4:24 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Happy 2017 Fit owner here. The dealer I bought it from loves it too--I get an offer to 'trade it in' more than once a month. I think the dealer would like to be selling them now.
My only complaint is that the steeply sloping shell makes it impossible to accurately sense the car's footprint while parking, etc. This has caused some dings.
Two of our kids have Honda CRVs. They can carry a bicycle or two without the seat origami that putting a bicycle into a Fit entails.
posted by hexatron at 4:31 PM on February 7, 2022

I read a really amazing story about weightlifting this weekend, and it has constantly been on my mind since. My transition is largely complete in physical mod terms, but when I saw the photo and read the story, it connected for me really strongly. I don’t know how I could possibly turn it into an FP, what with soft paywall and the non-competition focus, but it inspired me to spend Sunday morning uncovering exercises that parallel weightlifting with just a couple dumbbells and a doorway pull-up bar. And to start doing a few sets of gentle wall pushups every other day, to recover from recent surgery. I was so excited to be muscle-tired yesterday. It’s a lovely article.
posted by Callisto Prime at 4:32 PM on February 7, 2022 [12 favorites]

I'm one of four siblings in a family that took road trips from DC to NYC and beyond multiple times a year. Growing up, the first car I can remember was an early-70s blue Ford Econoline van (yes, just like The Mesopotamians drive). When my mom decided to return to work, my parents bought a much-used '68 Beetle which was, sadly, sold before I learned to drive to make way for a brand-new Nissan Sentra. The Econoline got replaced by a '79 Dodge Ram van (the only Chrysler product my parents ever purchased and which mom talked shit about every chance she got), which was totaled in an accident and replaced by an '81 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon. THAT is the vehicle in which I learned to drive and, let me tell you, there's nothing* more fun than being the only 16-year-old in your high school driving the family station wagon.

The first car I bought for myself, at the age of 19, was a dark brown '78 Chevette; you can probably guess what its nickname was.

Sandwiches: I used to work near the Celebrity Deli in Northern Virginia and, at the time, they had a sandwich that combined corned beef, pastrami, chopped liver, and onions. I still dream about that sandwich.
posted by hanov3r at 4:35 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

"Yeah, yeah, I like to sit up high and check things out. I mean, it is the Cadillac of minivans."
posted by kirkaracha at 4:39 PM on February 7, 2022

(Oh, I guess this is a car thread.)

My car is having its transmission / fluidampr refit installed today and tomorrow, because the only thing better than OEM is “indistinguishable from OEM except for having been lovingly dialed in with more precision and care than OEM does for the mass market”. It looks just like a boring normal off-the-shelf car from the outside, complete with door dings and a bumper scrape on one corner. My mechanic’s joy level has been increasing steadily as today approached, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. It won’t be even slightly faster, but it will be a lot more chill to drive. I don’t race other people, I just want to enjoy my driving, since I have to drive everywhere. So that’s exciting.
posted by Callisto Prime at 4:41 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

My wise parents gave 16-year-old me the family 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which had a straight-eight with 165 horsepower that could go 120 miles an hour*. It was like driving a rocket sled.

I'm just shy of six feet tall and I could lie down on the hood of the car without my feet hanging off.

I believe I had my first accident half an hour after getting my drivers license. #muscleCar

* I mean, allegedly. It's against the law to drive that fast.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:45 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

I put on a sundress and sat in the sun today. For those of you whose roofs freeze, it is a thing to turn up the heat while the sun is high, and open the house to the attic, so the roof under the ice warms up enough for the ice to come down. You can tell the houses with no attic insulation because there is no snow or ice on top. Trust me on this as a remedy, the cost is a whole lot less than damaging the roof with a hammer, or falling off it. This is for just every so often. Not all the time.
posted by Oyéah at 4:55 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

is it me or did like half of us own a chevette.
posted by clavdivs at 4:56 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

is it me or did like half of us own a chevette.

Dude, I longed for a chevette. My first car was a beater that I basically drove to death. I *sniffle* still miss that car.
posted by SPrintF at 5:28 PM on February 7, 2022

green olives and pepperoni are the best pizza toppings, except I don't eat dairy so I make polenta with tons of olive oil and mix in green olives and pepperoni. So salty and savory and delicious.

In Maine, we have Italian sandwiches on a soft long bun, ham and/or salami, cheese, onions, tomatoes, green pepper, pickles, black olives, oil, salt, pepper. Now I want one.
posted by theora55 at 5:32 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

My hybrid CR-V had its one year birthday this week and I got a little card from the dealer. Aww.

Until I bought it, all my cars were gray, white or taupe. Utilitarian. Small. And shared with my now ex. But this one is a classy purplish blue, with leather seats and a moon roof and seat warmers and I love it so much. And he has never, ever driven it.
posted by emjaybee at 5:38 PM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

(yes, just like The Mesopotamians drive)

I had forgotten what a banger of a song that is.

Best Monkees-Beatles Tribute Song Ever.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:55 PM on February 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Mid 70s we had a full size van with no seats in back, just a beanbag up against the back door for me and my baby sister in one of those plastic bucket style baby carriers on the floor in front of the passenger seat when mom wasn't holding her. I ended up needing stiches after dad had to panic stop. The beanbag just slid forward and I sliced the side of my head open on the back of the driver's seat. I've had a white patch in my hair in that spot since I was 5.

Then for a couple of years we had a VW bus with back seats, but only the driver had a seatbelt. Then we got another VW bus, this time with a platform bed and no seats, we had that up until I started high school. We finally got a minivan in the mid 80s with seats for everyone - and all of them had seat belts.

Dad drove a '54 Chevy wooden bed pickup for years as his work vehicle, it had no seatbelts but was grandfathered in. I got whiplash once when we blew a tire and spun out. After he broke his neck in '98 (not while driving) we were cleaning the truck out to sell it because he couldn't work the stick anymore, and discovered lap belts that had been shoved down behind the seats. He'd had that truck for almost 20 years without knowing there were seat belts.
posted by buildmyworld at 6:02 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

No minivans in my childhood, but I did ride to/from day camp in the 60’s in a Ford Econoline passenger van. The engine compartment sat between the passenger and driver in the front, and that sucker could get hot enough to burn you on a hot summer day. Years later, in a “hippie” version of same, with a cotton Indian-bedspread curtain between the front and back, the damn curtain caught fire! A Good Samaritan in a Volvo stopped and put out the fire with his fire extinguisher- a very unlikely prop in the early 70’s.
My first car that I owned was a ‘72 Ford Pinto wagon with the “Squire” package - faux wood paneling on the outside of the doors, and an automatic transmission. Pintos got a bad rap, but mine did not have the Optional Exploding Gas Tank, and ran for over 200k miles. Handled great on mountain roads, too.
posted by dbmcd at 6:07 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

My dad, for some reason, had a succession of Dodge Darts when I was young, but the car that looms in my childhood memories was our early 70s gold Dodge Coronet wagon. It was a V-8 behemoth, and apparently my mother never got used to driving the lackluster 4 cylinder-powered cars we replaced it with, and pretty much stopped driving once we got rid of it. It had the rear facing back seat, which was objectively the best. I seem to recall there were seatbelts back there, not that we ever used them. To this day I don't understand how my brother and I impinged on each other's personal space so much when it was just the two of us occupying the cavernous back seat. I guess we were just that motivated.
posted by mollweide at 6:24 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

A hot-air balloon did a touch-and-go on my street this afternoon. It was about 20 feet from me. I didn't think to get a photo until it was in the air.

I am in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and we have a weather pattern called "the box" that helps balloonists navigate.
posted by NotLost at 6:27 PM on February 7, 2022 [8 favorites]

Is it true that all hot air balloonists carry some sort of a gift (wine, cheese, etc) to share with the property owner of wherever they end up landing, or is that just a made up tradition?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:32 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Our Ford ranch wagon had storage instead of a seat. When new wall-to-wall carpeting was put in the living room, a chunk of the old carpet that was in not-too-shabby shape was cut out and dropped in the back of the ranch wagon. The "back of the back" was my preferred spot for the long trips on summer vacation. Kept me from being involved in the "who has to sit in the middle of the back seat" discussion/arguments between my other 3 brothers. Totally unsafe. How did we survive?
posted by coppertop at 6:41 PM on February 7, 2022

Is it true that all hot air balloonists carry some sort of a gift (wine, cheese, etc) to share with the property owner of wherever they end up landing, or is that just a made up tradition?

I took a balloon ride on my honeymoon over Napa and we landed in someone's vineyard. The balloon pilot never mentioned such a tradition. I'd guess all the balloon companies have some sort of arrangement with the downwind property owners that they frequently land in. Perhaps independent balloon pilots do such a thing. Does seem like a nice gesture.

If you ever get the chance to take a balloon ride, do it. It's a very peaceful and unique experience. Landing can be kind of violent though.
posted by bondcliff at 6:49 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oh man. You have all reminded me of A Car Story.

So, there was a dude (I'll call him S) I went to preschool and grade school and junior high and high school with; he wasn't one of my "omigod one of US" friend circles, but our orbits kind of meshed and pulled away and ebbed and flowed back and forth over the years, pushed and pulled by fate or chance or unrequited crushes or such. Junior year in high school, he was thrown a bit back into the orbit when he joined the tech crew for my high school drama club; we needed a few extra hands because we were doing Working, which has a gabillion speaking roles and some of the usual "I am not in the show but I wanna help" people were onstage and unavailable.

Come closing night, we were all racing to do some cleanup in the theater and then pile into each others' cars and such to go to the cast party. Somehow I missed my usual go-to people for rides - I don't remember how - and S offered to take me over. Only one other dude was going to be riding with him so they had plenty of room.

I rounded up my last bits of stuff, met S and his friend and started following him through the school parking lot. As we got close he gave me a half-hearted apology for parking so far away. But I didn't care - because I had finally seen S's car.

S's car was a vintage 1938 Mercedes. Deep maroon, and that thing had been polished flawlessly. I stopped dead and stared. "This is your car?"

"uh....yeah." He gave me a funny look. I walked up to it; his buddy had called shotgun, and last-minute opened the door to the back seat for me. I got in - it still had the original upholstery, and I pet it in a weird daze.

"I love this car, man," I said. S just kind of chuckled, made sure we were all seated and then we pulled out of the parking lot and S suddenly asked his buddy, "Hey, can you check the glove box? I think I left a couple cigars in there." He had - and S and his buddy lit them and sat in the front seat, cigars in their mouths the whole way, while I looked out the window pretending I was Greta Garbo.

I don't think I have ever hitched a more memorable ride.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:53 PM on February 7, 2022 [16 favorites]

We currently have a 19-year-old Sienna, because the electric car we are still making payments on died* in the Heat Dome last summer. 🤬🤬🤬

It has some issues that probably aren’t worth fixing before it’s time to re-register it, but the part of me that’s stuck in the Y2K era has a soft spot for it.

The One that Got Away, though, was the ‘95 Oldsmobile Aurora I drove while I was finishing undergrad. God, that thing was ridiculous. I miss it every day.

*I don’t blame electric cars. I blame the climate. Irony? Perhaps.
posted by armeowda at 6:55 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you ever get the chance to take a balloon ride, do it. It's a very peaceful and unique experience. Landing can be kind of violent though.
We took a balloon flight last year after having been given a voucher as a wedding gift. The balloon flight was kind of meh because conditions were shit. The trip back to where we all met ended prematurely when our mini-bus collided head-on with a car on the wrong side of the road and 18 of us ended up in hospital. You think the landing was violent? That was the most violent thing I've ever experienced (I saw the whole thing unfold through the windscreen of the bus).
posted by dg at 7:29 PM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

Back in the late 80's/early 90's a coworker was getting divorced and losing his house. During a workday discussion he told me he had to get his old non-running '71 VW Westphalia camper van towed off the property as part of the settlement. He was always hard on cars; this one he had blown the motor on by driving it at highway speeds while towing a fishing boat during a hot summer day, and also hadn't been keeping an eye on the oil level. The engine seized of course, leaving a hole in the crankcase you could easily put your fist through. Since then it had sat next to the house moldering; all 4 tires were flat, his slovenly teenage son had used it as a bedroom for a while, then it became storage for stuff that should have been thrown away instead.

I had a car at the time, but I mentioned that I'd had a casual interest in VW vans. He replied "Hey, if you'll tow the thing away I'll give you the title!" After a day or two of pondering and discussing it with my wife and consulting a friend who was a VW mechanic, I decided to take him up on the offer. He cleared out all the junk, I called a flatbed tow truck, and off it went to the friend's shop. About a thousand bucks later it had 4 working tires and a "new" (rebuilt) engine. But it was still a mess.

After pulling out all the seats and cushions (mostly ok but the upholstery was garbage), I cleaned up and rustproofed the passenger-area floor - somewhat holey from rust but still sound enough to support the 3/4" plywood I cut to fit. I glued some cheap linoleum on top of that and called it done. We reupholstered and reinstalled all the seats (including a new foam bit for the back-most part), and added new side and rear curtains to match. The original fridge/sink was long-gone, I didn't worry too much about replacing it. I cleaned the outside of the van's chalky paint as best I could and patched a few rust holes, but left off the idea of repainting until "later". I removed the sad remnants of deteriorated canvas around the pop-top (to be replaced "later") and scoured/bleached all the mildew and moss off the camper top. The side windows were the jalousie type, where each pane pivoted outward; they were great because you could open them without the rain coming in (while the bus was still), and they had screens to keep the bugs out. Sweet. I drove that van everywhere over the next few years, including not a few bluegrass festivals. I could stick an upright bass in there along with the rest of my camping gear and still have plenty of room to put down the rear bench seat and make a big sleeping area!

After 4 years and a few thousand miles a main bearing seized. I was living on an extremely small income at the time, so I maxed out my credit card to buy replacement engine parts plus aftermarket parts for an external oil filter and cooler. It took me a while but with the Complete Idiot, Haynes manual, and the official service manual laid out in front of me - where one wasn't clear, one or both of the others had a better picture/explanation - I managed to completely build a new engine. It even started up the first time! While I was at it I cleaned and repacked all 4 rear CV joints...I tell you those things were built like absolute tanks. It ran great, even better than before thanks to the external oil cooler, but apart from that the poor thing needed a lot of repairs/restoration that I just didn't have the money to do; all I could do was keep it cobbled and jerry-rigged enough to keep going. I eventually sold it for something more reliable. I was sad to see it being driven away.

That was 20 years ago, and I still miss it. You sat higher than almost everything else (other than jacked-up 4x4s and semis), you had a panoramic view, and the seats were surprisingly comfortable. I stuck a good stereo in it, so even though the ride was slow it was pleasant enough because I could listen to tunes and putter along mostly-kinda keeping up with traffic. I absolutely love the car I have now and I'm not planning on giving it up, but I've been thinking again of getting back into wrenching - find a sad old van that needs some TLC but isn't too expensive, rebuild a motor but add enough performance to make it workable at highway speeds, and use it for fun drives and camping trips. We'll see.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:39 PM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

Tucking the package of bacon under his arm, went on his way.

My favorite sentence in this thread by far.
Reminds me of the time a baboon broke into a friend's house and took a loaf of bread. Later the same day it came and took a bread knife. Honestly! Not making it up.
posted by Zumbador at 7:42 PM on February 7, 2022 [9 favorites]

If you ever get the chance to take a balloon ride, do it. It's a very peaceful and unique experience.

The thing about going up in a balloon is... well, okay, we're all used to how elevators feel when they start up... there's that feeling of momentary heaviness as your gravity inertia is overcome by the elevator motors. Or getting on an escalator, also you feel heavy for a moment. An airplane also has a "you're taking off now" sensation.

But there is none of that with a balloon. You're standing in a basket, and the burner is on (it's loud), and the air in the envelope is getting hotter... and when it reaches a certain point you become lighter than gravity. There is no feeling of heaviness because you aren't fighting against the earth's pull to be lifted up. You stand there, and the ground just moves away from you.

It's entirely remarkable.

I cannot tout the joys of taking a balloon flight enough. I feel content having done just one, but I'd do another one if it came my way for some reason. Completely peaceful and entirely the antithesis of what it feels like to go flying. There's no wind, there's no sound (other than the burner)... you are just coasting and it's magical.
posted by hippybear at 7:50 PM on February 7, 2022 [8 favorites]

Buddy we had one of those VW Bus things. You know with the air cooled engine in the back. Hooo boy in Central and Western PA. Go up the hill, engine near overheating, do down hill see that temp gauge plummet. It was orange.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:01 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

we had one of those VW Bus things ... It was orange.

Some cars, that's all you really need to say about them...
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:12 PM on February 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

fire extinguisher- a very unlikely prop in the early 70’s.

Less unlikely for the 1970s Volvo wagon temperament. My parents would also have had a saw to get fallen trees off the road, a come along, and probably something usable as a lifebuoy.
posted by clew at 8:54 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

I learned to drive a '76 Pontiac Trans-Am, black & gold package, automatic with a V8 and no t-top, as they stopped making that style mid year because of the seals failing. Dad bought it brand new when he left the AF his first hitch, and he kept that car for years. When he retired in '95 from his second enlistment, he drove that car from Alamogordo NM to Maryville, TN in 27 hours' total driving time, taking me to my grandmother's to get me enrolled in school for the rest of the year. Google maps says 21 hours, but that doesn't include gas stops and naps at the truck rest areas. I remember when he did a restoration of the car, helping him sand the paint and holding the doors (those things were heavy!) while he reattached them.

I was musing about station wagons today while I was out running errands and how my current car, a Murano, would be my equivalent of the station wagon since it hauls groceries and passengers well, but isn't low to the ground like a car bodied station wagon would be, but also isn't huge like a Suburban.
posted by tlwright at 9:04 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Since it's Doubles month, I'm just going to drop this FanFare comment about a certain Supernatural episode here. Starting with the third paragraph, it describes my automotive childhood, complete with references to certain station wagons and how I feel about them. (I swear half of my comment about that show--a show I never expected to have found myself watching, let alone enjoying--ended up being automotive related.)
posted by sardonyx at 9:23 PM on February 7, 2022

Great car! Except, as a 100% new design it had some kinks, like the fact that if you closed the sliding door (there was only one) while the window was open the window would shatter,

I am reminded of the meme which reads:

posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:12 PM on February 7, 2022 [15 favorites]

The first car my family had I can remember was a 1953 VW bug (oval rear window, semaphore turn signals, manual switch to a reserve gas supply rather than having a gas gauge) that came off the assembly line the same year I did. I loved riding laying down in the space behind the rear seat (referred to as the “cubby hole”) looking up at the sky. Totally, completely safe.

Also enjoyable was exploring forestry roads in western Montana with my dad (geologist for whom I was theoretically a field assistant) and occasionally having to back up steep slopes because a) engine horsepower was close to being single digits and b) reverse ratio was significantly lower than first gear.
posted by skyscraper at 11:22 PM on February 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

I got stuck in a door to do0r magazine crew in the early 80's. they would drive us around in these huge station wagons that would seat 8. The grift was strong. The operatof of the crew would have the wagons driven till the odometer rolled over and read about 20,000 for the second time and sell them as nearly new.
posted by boilermonster at 11:50 PM on February 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Ford Fairlane and '89 Caravan. I loved road trips with my family 😔 Falling asleep with my head poking out those rear Caravan windows. Watching the road
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 1:39 AM on February 8, 2022

not a story about my car(s) but:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

(Latin: who will watch the watchers?)

An ex-cop recently posted on twitter bemoaning the fact that the local Police Department is instituting a civilian oversight committee. His question was this:

“Legit question…. The police accountability board has zero authority to enforce any discipline as per state law. With that said are accountability boards in other professions staffed with individuals who have zero knowledge of job at hand ? Does a medical review board have…..”

“I guess I have many questions. How legitimate can any accountability board be with no one who has actually ever been in the arena ? It’s absurd… That is all… if anyone knows how I can be on some accountability board in some field I have zero knowledge let me know”

I work on a tour boat under the aegis of the United States Coast Guard. They don’t know shit about mixing a vodka and tonic, but they know about safety and the guarding of life. Maybe the oversight committee doesn’t know what it’s like to arrest someone. The Coast Guard have no idea how to serve a chicken dinner in high seas, nor do they understand the complexities of dealing with a drunk passenger who has shit all over the bathroom in an attempt to be funny. Maybe the oversight committee has never worked a double in a squad car, or had to deal with a terrible crime scene. But they are both human beings who know what is important to society.

I also work as a lift-bridge tender, which means the control of traffic, foot, car and boat, falls under my responsibilities. The aspect of being in control of human life is not lost on me. As it should not with police officers. I work daily with men and women who don’t think too hard about this. So I feel like my words might have resonance.

My point is this: sometimes you need people who are looking at the big picture, and not just what you’re doing. This gentleman can’t understand why society might want an ombudsmen to keep an eye on how police are operating. His own analogy of “The arena” says volumes. In my mind (and I think most civilians) the police are there to ”protect and serve” as opposed to duking it out like some gladiator. Also, what is he afraid they might see and misunderstand?

I will not go into the militarization of the police, or the stupid idea of “defunding.” I will mention that I think the idea of slowly adjusting the course from “soldier” to “lifeguard” is important. From my point of view (admittedly, not a cop) the police should see their mission statement more as someone charged with guarding life. Even the lives of those who are on the other end of the law.

While I’m not a cop, I do work with huge machines. Big machines have a way of killing people, like society. I know what it is to be on watch, and safeguard other human beings. So while I haven’t been a cop, I know what it is to work at keeping people from dying.

And while it can be a pain, I appreciate another set of eyes, eyes that are not so taken up with the day-to-day grind of the big machine looking in and maybe seeing something I might have missed.

(Aegis: The shield of Zeus, it means doing something under the protection of a powerful, knowledgeable, or benevolent source. Kinda like what they are trying to build with the police oversight committee. And I think it’s crucial that those people NOT be cops, for the reasons laid out here.

Also, I know you’re gonna say my Coast Guard analogy is tortured, because they know boats; I would argue that people know cops, or at least, as much as there is to know about the water we all swim in.

Also also: Benevolent, benevolent, benevolent.)

Thanks for letting me write.
posted by valkane at 4:27 AM on February 8, 2022 [22 favorites]

Would anyone like to see a dramatic train derailment? No one hurt, no fire, etc., so you can just admire the crash.

(You get the sound first, then the video, so if you just wanna see it skip to 1:35.)
posted by JanetLand at 5:25 AM on February 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

With a Bluetooth gadget such as this, there are two volume controls. One is the stereo itself which controls the output. The other, and this might come as a surprise, is the device you paired with it like a phone, which is the input. Instead of turning up the stereo, try bumping your phone's volume all the way up.

I have one that looks like this and it puts three volume controls in the chain: the one on my phone, the one on the device itself, and the one in the radio. Turning the first two all the way up and controlling the volume at the radio yields the best signal to noise ratio.

Early cars: I have a fragmentary very early memory of lying in a cane bassinette behind the back seat of Mum's car, which I would later learn was a brown 1958 Volkswagen Beetle. I can still hear the creak of the cane and smell the horsehair padding behind the back seat's vinyl upholstery and feel the cotton retaining net between my fingers and the warmth of the sun coming through the back window above.

Dad had a Beetle as well. His was a dark blue 1956 model, the one with the truly tiny back window.

You get the sound first, then the video

omg it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion
posted by flabdablet at 5:35 AM on February 8, 2022 [5 favorites]

It's "keev" got it? Thanks NPR.
posted by valkane at 5:40 AM on February 8, 2022

Mrs Dewd was listening to NPR this morning and came to tell me it’s Keev.
posted by MtDewd at 5:49 AM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

You get the sound first, then the video

Choose 1.5 speed!
posted by thelonius at 5:51 AM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

The first family car i remember is a white Volvo, from googling pictures a volvo 145.
My father was a geologist during my early childhood, and slept in it during the summer which he spent in the Mountains completing the cartography for his dissertation. It lacked the exhaust and he did not bother to have it repaired because basically he used it off road in the mountains. This was early seventies. No safety belts etc. And both my parents smoked in the car. In July he would come and pick us up for four weeks, we would stay in hunting lodges ( Sounds Grand. But No water, No toilet, No electricity) or other primitive hut in the mountains he worked on. I can still smell the musky but for me as a child not unpleasant odor of his sleeping bag, which we were occasionally allowed to sleep in, but basically it lived in the car, together with boxes of rock samples, tools, papers, geologist maps, and spare boots, old socks, gas cooker and TP.
This vehicle was more of a second home for my father, less a family car.

So when his dissertation was finished and He No longer spent May to September in the mountains, the Volvo was followed initially by a Citroen, the Kind Patrick Jane of the Mentalist drives. Needless to say it was not really useful as a family car with 3 children. But i loved how it rise up before driving. And the red velvet upholstery.
And If you think this cannot be topped as far as unsuitable Family Cars go, when i was about 11, my brothers 10 and 8, in 1976, my dad decided the next car was to be a Citroen 2cv, of which he owned several in succession. No seat belts. But better natural airflow for smoking.
He once explained that a., they were cheap, b., used little fuel and c., he could get it out of a ditch or snow drift alone. This last being the most important as we lived then very rural, outside snow plough service.
This cold climate also meant it was freezing inside the car, as a 2cv has no insulation and a cloth roof. Also, starting a 2cv engine at freezing temperatures is difficult. So he taught me how, in order so he could have a quick coffee before he took us to school and went on to work.

Writing all this makes it sound weird, and me feel ancient but this was the mid seventies, so not that long ago.
posted by 15L06 at 7:19 AM on February 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

Learned to drive in a '48 Willys jeep in a cornfield. Didn't learn anything about driving in traffic or starting on a hill. I still can't drive a stick in hilly Austin. I always freaked when I rolled back when getting into first and stalling the engine.

So it's been automatics all the way ever since. I now drive the miniest van, a Honda Fit, which is perfect for me. I can fold up the back seats and just tip up my folded wheelchair into a slot just the right size. And since I can just tip it up and shove I don't have to deadlift the chair into a trunk. My previous car was the twice resurrected VW New Beetle. It was cute and comfortable but I had to lift the wheelchair sideways into the rounded trunk and it was too heavy for me. Fortunately, I met many kind people along the way who helped me lift it. Being able to do it all by myself is very freeing!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 7:33 AM on February 8, 2022 [5 favorites]

My first-and-only vehicle was a Ford Escape. Deeply non-memorable vehicle. I nearly totaled it driving to school one day, and once I went off to college, my sister drove it to school and totaled it for me.

My on-my-mind-this-week thing, not car-related, is: I finally bit the bullet and signed up to learn Transcendental Meditation after about a decade of curiosity (and trying every other non-pricey meditative practice on the planet). I did that with a lot of trepidation, and, four days in, am having very positive experiences—even relative to other approaches I've tried—but also kind of bracing myself for the possibility that now is when it'll slowly start turning into a Scientology-esque cult.

It's hard to tell, I think, whether it's a case of "earnest people trying to do a good thing in a financially stable way, and leaning on vocabulary and phrasings that sound dated and kinda cringe," or a case of "people using pretenses of a good thing as an excuse to push a weird vocabulary to gradually try and persuade me into believing something dogmatic and dumb." Thus far, I've been doing a lot of pausing, rewatching, and doing my best to rewrite whatever's being said in my own bullshit-free words, and when I do I wind up with something that seems pretty grounded and stable—so so far, so good, and if it keeps up like that, I could see this as an experience that I'll look back upon with enormous gratitude and fondness. But it's hard for me to engage with spiritual-adjacent enterprises without intense skepticism, and this one has, you know, a track record of criticism that dates literally back to The White Album. So we'll see.
posted by rorgy at 7:46 AM on February 8, 2022

Also, it makes me cringe a little just to write out the name with capital letters like that, so I've mostly been referring to it as TM™ to all my friends.
posted by rorgy at 7:47 AM on February 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'd like to nod in the direction of all of you who posted re: old VW vans.. my first memory of a family vehicle was an orange VW van. VW Beetles were among the cars that could withstand the heat of northern Nigeria for the years we lived there (anyone else remember the burnt smell in the interior of a cooking-hot vehicle?). Back to Canada, and we were a two Chevette family for a bit, plus my friend's folks had a Chevette, so I'd say: yes, at one time it seemed like everyone owned Chevettes! Was this also an Atlantic Canada thing? not sure. Taurus and Camry also factor in there, even a Dodge Caravan (my folks drove it across Canada once or twice).

Last car-related story.. memories of driving an ancient and not very safe company cube truck (like the not-big-but-not-small delivery vehicles you see everywhere) around Edmonton in the late 2000s, and but for the grace of gods I avoided incident. A lot of close calls with that concrete company, good to have all that behind me.
posted by elkevelvet at 9:01 AM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

CW: blood.

Some followup on yesterday's cardiac cath.

I think I got fentanyl + midazolam for sedation. I recall being told that the meds were going in and me continuing to observe the techs prepping. At some point while watching the prep, I was told that the procedure was over. I had no awareness of transitioning between consciousness and un.

The cardiologist wanted to use my right radial artery. That's the one on the inside of the wrist. But the catheter wouldn't advance beyond my elbow, so that was withdrawn and she used the femoral (groin) artery successfully. The femoral artery hole was patched with a nifty gadget called an Angio-Seal which is made of collagen and slowly dissolves over several weeks.

The wrist was covered with a clear plastic band filled with air. It had a syringe port so air could be added or removed. Beginning about 4 hours after the procedure, the nurse began removing air a little bit at a time at intervals of 15 minutes. On the 3rd step, blood starting spurting out in pulses. I'd never seen myself have arterial bleeding--neat! Made quite a mess, though. Air added. Wait an hour. (I had gotten 10,000 units of the blood thinner heparin during the procedure, a high dose.)

Finally got the dressing off without bleeding and a bandaid was applied. The nurse helped me up and assisted me to walk in the hall. As we got back to my doorway, we noticed that my wrist was absolutely gushing blood. And we had left a trail in the hall. QuikClot gauze was applied and I was observed for another hour without bleeding. Then home. I have a big hematoma (literally: blood tumor) which will eventually spread into a giant bruise.

Today, I feel fine. Activities pretty limited for a couple of days, including wearing this bloodstained wrist brace through today. Unfortunately it's my dominant arm but fortunately we recently got a swanky bidet.
posted by neuron at 9:14 AM on February 8, 2022 [9 favorites]

Internet is down at work - and across a good deal of the area apparently. It is also killing my office desk phone. A lot of people here wandering around aimlessly all “I don’t have anything to do, i need internet for anything.”

…in other work news I think I was offered a promotion this morning. I am going through the obligatory “oh shit what If this is a mistake “ flailing before I say yes to it tomorrow.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:41 AM on February 8, 2022 [6 favorites]

Didn't learn anything about driving in traffic or starting on a hill.

Handbrake starts were what I initially taught all my kids as the default way to move off from a standstill.

First skill we worked on was always nudging forward by putting the car in first, slowly letting the clutch pedal up off the floor until the car just moved, then stamping the clutch pedal straight back to the floor again. We practised this until they could put the car exactly where they'd decided ahead of time that it would stop. The aim of this exercise is to teach their clutch foot what "take-up point" means as well as teach them a very safe way to do precise low-speed manoeuvring.

Next, we moved straight on to handbrake starts. I taught these by having them set the handbrake very lightly while the car was stopped, then try to achieve their controlled nudge. Once they'd got that down we did it again with the handbrake set a little bit harder, so that they'd need to get the clutch to bite just that little bit more and use a bit more accelerator to make the car move instead of stalling out. The aim of this exercise was to get their accelerator and clutch feet to dance cooperatively. Only then did we move on to releasing the handbrake just when they felt the car beginning to nudge forward, and there we are - driving!

Did all this out in the back paddock to start with, which has a fair old slope on it in parts, and got them used to moving off smoothly regardless of whether the car was on the flat or heading up various degrees of hill, using the same handbrake start procedure consistently. And it wasn't until they had their handbrake starts pretty much under control that I first revealed that on the flat you don't actually need the handbrake - though it doesn't hurt to use it every time anyway, just to keep your skills up for when you do have to do a hill start.

Newbie drivers are going to be experiencing quite enough stress once they first get out and about in actual traffic. Expecting them to take that on in a machine that they cannot control when required to take off uphill is both cruel and irresponsible, in my view.
posted by flabdablet at 9:46 AM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I really miss station wagons. The only new car I will ever own was a 98 Saturn station wagon. I kept it for nineteen years and almost 300,000 miles and it was still running fine (OK no AC, the passenger window was permanently stuck closed, the ceiling fabric had fallen down and been replaced by me in a fit of inspiration with a cheery yellow cotton print of umbrellas and it rattled and banged and wobbled a bit) when I sold it for $500 in 2017 to a guy who was starting his life over. I drove that car to the New Orleans Mefi 10th anniversary and I cried after I sold it.

Before the Saturn, I had a minivan, a Chrysler, that I got in the mid 90s when the Ford Escort wagon finally gave up the ghost. It was horrible. I hated it. It broke down all the time and it was just so boring, even after I glued plastic dinosaurs all over the dashboard and the kids painted the interior.

Now I have a truck, an F-150 that looks like a big scary intimidating monster but actually is a total wimp that I can't even drive offroad because it will get stuck in the tiniest of mudpuddles. I love my truck - I bought it for my travels and it faithfully crossed the US three times towing my tiny camper - but I can't afford to keep feeding it gas. So now I'm looking for another car. Or another truck. Actually let's be real: I can't afford anything. I can't get much for my 2006 truck with no backseat (I took it out and replaced it with a big pile of dog beds, which is where my priorities are these days) and I am not sure what I'm going to do, so I'm just doing nothing and wishing there were still station wagons.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:51 AM on February 8, 2022 [6 favorites]

Oh and I still think wistfully about the vegetarian italian subs from an Italian deli in Highlandtown (Baltimore) in the 90s because they were the best sandwiches ever.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:52 AM on February 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I learned to drive in my mid thirties. My mother (who also, by coincidence, learned in her thirties) taught me. Very much like flabdablet did. Clutch, handbrake, stick shift. Except not in a paddock.
One skill at a time, just taking it easy.
I was very nervous of driving in traffic and had only really edged up and down our road when there were no cars in sight, when I decided I should get some lessons from a professional driving instructor.
In retrospect, this guy could not comprehend that a driving lesson should be about how to actually drive. To him, it meant teaching someone how to pass their drivers test. Because of course, everyone already knows how to *drive*, right?
On my very first lesson, he directed me to drive on the freeway in the middle of the day. It was exhilarating! And terrifying. But of course pretty soon the fact that everything was new to me, including changing lanes, checking my blind spot, etc, he suddenly realized he was in trouble and was pretty rattled by the time we the lesson ended.
Next lesson was a lot more sedate.
He kept giving all his directions in terms of cars, as in, "go left after that Nissan" or "turn where that Taz came out" and I would not have a clue what he meant because I am car blind. I know very little about cars except that they generally have four wheels.
That freeway lesson did teach me that I am braver than I thought I was, and that you need a certain level of denial of how much danger you are in, to be a good driver.
Well, I'm still not a good driver, but I'm pretty good at hill starts.
posted by Zumbador at 10:54 AM on February 8, 2022 [5 favorites]

Would anyone like to see a dramatic train derailment yt ? No one hurt, no fire, etc., so you can just admire the crash.

After showing the derailment at full speed, the video repeats it at 35% speed. I am fascinated -- it's like watching a slow-motion train wre... HEY WAITAMINNIT

Oh and I still think wistfully about the vegetarian italian subs from an Italian deli in Highlandtown (Baltimore) in the 90s because they were the best sandwiches ever.

When I was growing up, Atlantic Subs was side-by-side with Tony's, another sub shop in the hometown. I can only guess at the relations between the two, but they were engaged in a lengthy price war. Atlantic was the superior of the two, in my view, and $1.29 for a footlong sub was music to my teenaged ears.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:45 AM on February 8, 2022

Well... Atlantic. That's so expansive! It's nearly oceanic in scale. While Tony's... I mean, that's just a guy, you know?
posted by hippybear at 11:56 AM on February 8, 2022

Not sandwiches, but speaking of food, we are having beluga lentils with duck breast and also some Armenian-style dolmas that were leftover from the weekend. We think the virus has finally caught us, only one out of the four of us has tested postive till now, but all are coughing and tired and in bed. In that situation, a no effort, soothing, peppery lentil stew is just the right thing. One of the other roommates has made pickled red onion we can top it with. And the duck breasts were on sale, at a ridiculously low price. Cheap and good food makes me happy in a special way, I think I feel that as long as we are well fed, everything will be alright.

If we are well enough, we can fry potatoes in duck fat tomorrow for breakfast.
posted by mumimor at 12:01 PM on February 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

My boss just (moments ago) announced his resignation. He's literally the best boss I've ever had by miles, an exemplary human I strive to emulate in several professional and personal areas, and I've been working for him for years. Being an anxious person it's difficult not to catastrophize.
posted by majick at 12:08 PM on February 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

Sorry to hear the virus caught up with you, mumimor. Rest up and stay safe!
posted by Quasirandom at 12:11 PM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just got back from a vacation with my family where we rented a car (a first for us!). I had reserved a four door sedan but they didn't have any when we came to pick up the car. So they offered us a small SUV instead telling me it was a "free upgrade".

It might have been free but an upgrade it was not sir!

Team station wagon all the way.
posted by VTX at 12:16 PM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just got back from a vacation with my family where we rented a car (a first for us!). I had reserved a four door sedan but they didn't have any when we came to pick up the car. So they offered us a small SUV instead telling me it was a "free upgrade".

Yeah, a few years back I rented a car in Puerto Rico and they tried up upgrade me to something bigger, and I told them that my normal daily driver is a Mini, so anything bigger than that is a crapshoot. They found a decent smallish sedan instead, which was good, we ended up taking side streets back from Arecibo and it was good that I knew where my right wheel was - we got passed by a procession of blinged out upgraded jeeps headed the other way on the narrow beachfront road we were taking.

posted by Kyol at 12:25 PM on February 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I dread the rental car upgrade so much.

I did not pick compact/economy because it is cheapest; I picked it because I don't want to drive a giant monstrosity with pedestrian eating blindspots.

The possible "upgrade" to giant SUV is my very least favorite part of car rentals, and there are many annoying parts of that process to choose from.
posted by the primroses were over at 12:51 PM on February 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

I had a friend/crush from 8th grade message me on FB out of the blue the other day, and then today I walked by a long-dead but iconic music club I used to go to at that age, and my brain is in an era right now and I'm having an emotion.
posted by curious nu at 12:57 PM on February 8, 2022 [8 favorites]

The possible "upgrade" to giant SUV is my very least favorite part of car rentals, and there are many annoying parts of that process to choose from.

We tried to rent a "compact SUV" in Burbank a few years back (mrsozzy likes the higher vantage point), and they "upgraded" us to a minivan and a free tank of gas. I really hated driving it, but we sure did return it with like a teaspoon of gas.

On the subject of station wagons, one of my friends in high school drove one of those wood-paneled Celebrity wagons that was already on its last leg when he took possession. We would pack a dozen people in there, very useful, but once he reversed full-speed into a tree and the rear seatback locks broke so every time you sat back there you had to remember not to lean forward or the seat would lean forward with you.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:59 PM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

When I was growing up, Atlantic Subs was side-by-side with Tony's, another sub shop in the hometown.

Well... Atlantic. That's so expansive! It's nearly oceanic in scale. While Tony's... I mean, that's just a guy, you know?

Someone should've opened a Pacific Subs nearby and really blown their minds!
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:11 PM on February 8, 2022

Definitely not worth a post, but the Heather Morgan (aka Razzlekhan) story is so damn fun, if you're a fan of schadenfreude and/or very, very, very bad music.

Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife, Heather Rhiannon Morgan, 31, are accused of helping to “wash” 119,754 Bitcoin pilfered from Bitfinex and allegedly transferred into a digital wallet controlled by the husband, prosecutors announced...Prosecutors said the pair spent the proceeds from the theft on gold, NFTs, and “mundane things such as purchasing a Walmart gift card for $500.” In a statement, Bitfinex said it is working with the Department of Justice to claw back the stolen Bitcoin...

As her alter ego “Razzlekhan,” Morgan described herself as “like Genghis Khan, but with more pizzazz.”

“No one knows for sure where this rapper’s from—could be the North African desert, the jungles of Vietnam, or another universe,” her website says. “All that matters is she’s here to stick up for misfits and underdogs everywhere. (We do know that she’s descended from a nomadic tribe, though!)”

And yes, her songs are still on youtube. Not as bad as, say, anything in the chap rap genre, but that's kind of how impetigo isn't as bad as scabies.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:11 PM on February 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

beluga lentils

Please elaborate? Beluga is caviar vocab, as far as I’ve ever heard. (Lentil hype here in Italy is strictly bioregional: Castelluccio trumps all…)

we can fry potatoes in duck fat tomorrow

I mean, that’s *chef’s kiss*, but maybe a just a touch overhearty for breakfast!? (Or is it a COVID-bland-tongue breakthrough thing?)
posted by progosk at 1:13 PM on February 8, 2022

Someone should've opened a Pacific Subs nearby and really blown their minds!
I've lived on the west coast since the fall of 2018 and I still see Pacific* and get a little frisson of excitement, like, ooooh, exotic! Pacific is far away and distant and strange, Atlantic is normal, mundane and regular.

* There is an apartment complex near me called Pacific Rim and I really like that.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:21 PM on February 8, 2022

> beluga lentils

Please elaborate? Beluga is caviar vocab, as far as I’ve ever heard.

There's a kind of lentil which is sometimes called the "beluga lentil" or the "Caviar lentil" precisely because of its resemblance to caviar. It's a black lentil and holds its shape particularly well when you cook it. Other lentils soften quickly (and are supposed to).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:29 PM on February 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

I'm pretty gut feelings about my interview yesterday turned out to be accurate and I didn't make it to the next round. It's good to get the practice I guess, but damn, it certainly doesn't help with my confidence about being good at literally anything but trivia.

If anyone's seen The Way Way Back, you've seen the station wagon I basically grew up in. After that came the Volvo wagon my sister set on fire while learning to drive, then and endless series of minivans until my parents were empty nesters and started getting Subaru Wagons...
posted by schyler523 at 1:31 PM on February 8, 2022

Beluga lentils is another name for urad daal / black mung, I think. They are black and firm and delicious, a bit like beluga caviar. You cook them like green lentils.
I haven't been to Italy during the plague, but I will certainly buy Castelluccio lentils when I go to Rome for work later in spring. We all love lentils, so thanks for the recommendation.

maybe a just a touch overhearty for breakfast!?
Knowing my roomies, "breakfast" will be at about 12. Two of us will have been up long before that, but only having a bit of coffee. Breakfast may also include some form of legumes (the lentils are gone, but there are other options), shakshuka, toast with a wide range of toppings and perhaps a salad.
I share my apartment with three young people who enjoy life fully.
posted by mumimor at 1:32 PM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Sorry to hear it, schyler523. Same thing happened to a former temp coworker of mine--she was visibly nervous when applying here for a permanent position, and hooooo boy was upper management not kind about it (or other things). I would like to think that people would give special dispensation for that sort of thing, but I guess not :/
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:34 PM on February 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I knew before I clicked that the weightlifting story was going to be Casey Johnston, who is just the best.
posted by zenon at 1:53 PM on February 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

There is an apartment complex near me called Pacific Rim and I really like that.

That will work even better if it's just barely left on dry land after The Big One...
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:29 PM on February 8, 2022

As I was out on my second-story porch last night smoking before bed about 2:30 am, it was warmish (35F maybe) and melty. I saw a shadow, a BIG shadow, in a tree about 15 feet away from me that I am pretty sure was an owl (unless it was the Stellar's Sea Eagle coming to visit). I finished up and came inside and got Jim and we tiptoed back out on to the porch and marveled at the largeness and owl-ness of the shadow and then came inside and went to sleep.
posted by jessamyn at 2:59 PM on February 8, 2022 [16 favorites]

So many VW van stories (these are known as 'Kombies' in these parts). I learned to drive in one of these at 15 - an old and incredibly rusty split-window job. It belonged to a school friend's father, who let him drive it to and from school on the basis that he was working on repairing the extensive rust after school. In reality, most days it was being hurled around the neighborhood with varying numbers of teenage boys in the back, all of whom had contributed what they could for petrol. It was common for us to pull in and ask for $1.23 worth of regular. Equally common for us to have to push it to get more at some point.

Anyway, a whole bunch of us had our first driving experiences in that van. What would normally be careful and calm instruction for the first time someone drove a car was replaced by shouting and heckling from a bunch of teenage boys doing everything they could to make you fail. You either drove the thing or you never got another chance. I lucked out and, armed only with my observations of watching other people drive, managed to get the thing around the block and even changed all the way up through the gears without incident.
posted by dg at 3:17 PM on February 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

I regret I didn't guest drive a silver '69 Jaguar when I had the chance, and I still miss my first car, a quirky semi-automatic SuperBeetle.

I can't stop listening to this gorgeous song by Guy Garvey and John Grant.
posted by vers at 3:21 PM on February 8, 2022

My wildest minivan modification to date: manual torque vectoring.

My 1st gen Sienna is FWD with an open diff, so if even one wheel gets off the ground, it's stuck. To remedy this shortcoming, I installed a pair of hydraulic handbrakes that let me brake each front wheel individually. This lets me feather the brake on the slipping wheel, to transfer torque to the other side.

Some modern cars do this with electronics to control the brakes. I've recreated the same basic system, but with pure hydraulics: just valves and lots of brake line. The system's fluid capacity went up by a full quart, but the pedal feels exactly the same. It's sometimes helpful offroad, though it won't work miracles.

Build pics.
posted by ryanrs at 4:00 PM on February 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

Awesome work ryanrs!

I actually came here to warn any Wordle people that today's word is one of those that is spelled incorrectly in US English by the removal of a 'U'.
posted by dg at 4:07 PM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Thanks! I wanted to learn car repair, so I took up offroading. I go break things, then I fix them.

It hasn't been especially cheap, but it's not 'buy a truck' level of expense, either.
posted by ryanrs at 4:19 PM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

We've had two people quit their jobs to go elsewhere this week, one got a promotion to another job, and we finally got to hire two other people. So at work, I guess we declare it a draw this week? :P
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:47 PM on February 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I was lifting weights at my brother's tonight. I went to put my bar on the rack and it freakin' slipped. It and one of his bars crashed down on my right thumb. Luckily nothing is broken. It's a bit swollen and sore. I think this counts as my first official injury.

I came home and heated up the ttokboki I made last night. It's one of the two Korean dishes I learned how to make. I just wish I could find already hard boiled and peeled quail eggs. I'm sure an Asian market has them, but not the one I shop at. I don't want them bad enough to actually peel quail eggs.
posted by kathrynm at 5:14 PM on February 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

What's the other Korean dish? I personally have never gotten the hang of tteokboki. My kimchi stew is pretty good though, although I haven't gotten to make it recently, living with vegetarians.
posted by notoriety public at 7:31 PM on February 8, 2022

Ooh tteokboki is great! I went through a phase when I made it all the time, partially just because it was readily available from some nearby store and the sauce was easy enough to throw together with access to gochujang.

Separately, (mods, feel free to delete if this is considered to cross a line?) I have been following a Kickstarter for the board game Puzzle Strike II with great eagerness, having played the early print-and-play versions a lot via Patreon a while back. Strong recommendation for folks who like strategic deckbuilder games with several miracles per game and/or the theming of competitive puzzle game video games like Puyo Puyo. Plus it involves a cursed scepter that whispers temptations in your ear, telling you that you and only you deserve to wield its power (which will also probably lead directly to your demise). Anyway, it's pretty fun? I like it a lot, at least.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:24 PM on February 8, 2022

I'm bringing the love for decades of Honda ownership, specifically our 2002 Honda Odyssey.
It's huge. It holds scuba gear for four, including six tanks, plus clothes, kitchen supplies, and a big Coleman ice chest of staples for at least a week.

Our first foray into Florida vacations was on a spring break for the teenagers. We brought our tiny fifth-wheel, pulled by our 2002 Toyota Tundra (still going strong).
The girls spent three days at "the old folks retirement center" (an RV park) while we tried several times a day to find parking at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
This met with varied success. We learned that parking was easier in the early afternoon, but by then the waves were too strong for our budding efforts. The husband, teens and I managed two successful dives in three days before heading home.

Once we decided that it was cheaper to rent a one-bed hotel room for a couple of weeks and walk to Anglin Pier for shore diving, rather than drive El Mar looking for a parking spot near the beach, there was no going back.

The Odyssey last left the property when the older daughter needed wheels while her vehicle was in the shop. It's had its best days, but the husband still gets work out of it. He uses it as a storage locker.
It's a huge locker.
posted by TrishaU at 3:39 AM on February 9, 2022

So many VW van stories

So many. Here's mine.
posted by flabdablet at 3:53 AM on February 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

Good morning. This thread brings back memories of learning to drive a stick in San Francisco. I left my heart in San Francisco.
posted by effluvia at 6:14 AM on February 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

My wonderful "easy-peasy," making my job EASIER laptop/lots of cords setup? Has utterly stopped working today. I didn't touch a single cable after 5 p.m. and now none of the monitors are getting "signal" and they won't turn on. I cannot do this job on a tiny laptop screen. I have unplugged and replugged everything for 20 minutes straight. Eff this, I replugged in my desktop and I am NOT HANDING IT BACK IN. I literally CANNOT DO MY JOB with this "easy-peasy" setup they have created for me TO MAKE MY LIFE EASIER. I can't talk back or yell or say anything BUT THIS IS SO AWFUL.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:29 AM on February 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

I left my heart clutch in San Francisco.
posted by majick at 9:29 AM on February 9, 2022 [5 favorites]

If I remember the name correctly, it's Kimchi Jun. It's essentially a savory pancake. My Korean roommate who taught me usually just used flour, but there's a pancake mix that you can use too. Ottogi is the brand name of the one I have I think. Just the flour/mix, water and chopped kimchi. Make like you would make regular pancakes. Serve with soy sauce.

I also know how to make fried rice. Maybe I"ll have that for dinner tonight since I have a little container of kimchi in the fridge and rice that I need to use.
posted by kathrynm at 9:55 AM on February 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I left burned my heart clutch in San Francisco.
posted by flabdablet at 9:59 AM on February 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I left burned my heart clutch in San Francisco.

Back in his very early standup days, Bill Cosby once did a whole routine about driving in San Francisco in a car with a clutch.
posted by hanov3r at 10:43 AM on February 9, 2022

My workday was so awful I called out sick for the last 2 hours of it. Then I drank. I feel so much better now.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:39 PM on February 9, 2022 [7 favorites]

So many VW van stories
So many. Here's mine.

flabdablet, that thread has me jonesing even more for a van! Thanks? ;)
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:57 PM on February 9, 2022

Check out the moves of Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Didn’t it Rain, Children
posted by jamjam at 8:38 PM on February 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

oh gods I have interviews tomorrow and Friday and I've prepared more than I've ever prepared for anything in my entire life, please just light a candle, cross a finger, just send me good mojo please!
posted by Space Kitty at 9:49 PM on February 9, 2022 [14 favorites]

aaahhhhh good luck, job(?) interviews are just the worst
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:15 PM on February 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

So, apparently, Marjorie Taylor Greene has accused Nancy Pelosi of having her "gazpacho police" spy on members of congress. Bisque if true. I guess the alphabet soup agencies are just too busy dealing with 4.5 bouillon of stolen crypto to look into it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by taz at 2:34 AM on February 10, 2022 [8 favorites]

I can't claim this as my own, repeating the exchange I saw on Twitter just now between Bradley Whitford and a friend of mine:

BW: (tells story about MTG and the "gazpacho police") So....I guess she's not a fan of the Biden adminestrone.

My friend: Eh, she's just a chowderhead.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:30 AM on February 10, 2022 [7 favorites]

It does seem to take her a while to crouton on.
posted by flabdablet at 3:31 AM on February 10, 2022 [5 favorites]

She'll certainly never be in danger of running out of spurious complaints, not with that endless beef stock.
posted by flabdablet at 3:37 AM on February 10, 2022 [5 favorites]

MTG to Pelosi: this town ain't big enough for the broth of us.
posted by flabdablet at 3:39 AM on February 10, 2022 [8 favorites]

Last night we made some dumplings of which about half went into the freezer for another day and I made some garlic noodles. Neither of these things were added to soup but they were pleasant nonetheless.
posted by majick at 7:01 AM on February 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

Sorry I don’t have memories of family trips in a minivan or recipes to share but I just wanted to take advantage of this fabulous free thread thingy to tell you all about the possibility that Italy might win the Eurovision again!!!, at least according to the bookmakers, and according to me and everyone who’s listened to the Italian entry for this year, it’s nothing like Måneskin but still rocks in a different way. That’s all, you’re welcome.

(This track also rocks and could have been the Italian entry for Eurovision if that other track above wasn’t so vocally and emotionally powerful)
posted by bitteschoen at 8:47 AM on February 10, 2022 [6 favorites]

BW: (tells story about MTG and the "gazpacho police") So....I guess she's not a fan of the Biden adminestrone.
My friend: Eh, she's just a chowderhead.

It's kind of fun to watch her stew, though, despite her goulash personality.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:47 AM on February 10, 2022 [8 favorites]

You've got to be phở king kidding me.
posted by fedward at 9:12 AM on February 10, 2022 [6 favorites]

Not kidding. She's the consomméte Republican.
posted by flabdablet at 10:33 AM on February 10, 2022 [4 favorites]

They do get all hot and sour under the collar, don't they.
posted by fedward at 11:59 AM on February 10, 2022 [5 favorites]

Especially about people having a borsch on.
posted by flabdablet at 12:55 PM on February 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

jessamyn's owl story reminds me of an incident from two years ago: We had recently moved to a new state and I heard wildlife screeching outside of our house so I went outside to see - it was an owl. I grabbed a seat and watched it occasionally go from branch to branch. And that I noticed there was another one on a nearby power line. And another in a tree across the street. I started walking around to see how many I could see and pretty soon I had spotted somewhere between 6 and 8 owls up and down our street all screeching at each other an occasionally taking flight to a new roost. I began to suspect I was in the opening to a horror movie and all that would be left of me in the morning is a bloody spot. It was a bedtime anyway so I started walking to our front door, keenly aware that if these owls wanted to get between me and my house they could easily do it. I also wondered if the owls were waiting for me to go inside and would force their way inside to eat me and keep the plot moving.

I mean, I knew it was just a strange and fun coincidence that I was surrounded by a bunch of owls making frightening noises. But if "I'm surrounded by screeching owls" is a fun thought then " I'm surrounded by a screeching owls who want to eat me" is even more fun.
When I was little, my favorite sandwich was green olives and pepperoni on white bread, which is basically a salt lick in sandwich form.
Sounds like you were well on your way to reinventing the muffaletta.
posted by Tehhund at 1:16 PM on February 10, 2022 [7 favorites]

I mean, I knew it was just a strange and fun coincidence that I was surrounded by a bunch of owls making frightening noises. But if "I'm surrounded by screeching owls" is a fun thought then " I'm surrounded by a screeching owls who want to eat me" is even more fun.

We are City People who go car camping once or twice a year and rarely have wildlife encounters. But last year we camped at a state park on a weekday in the off-season and we were practically the only ones there, so I think the wildlife were emboldened. The minute our fire was out there were noises in the brush nearby and Eyes glowing back at us when we aimed our flashlight in their direction.

For hours after we went to bed there was a pack of coyotes barking and howling and scampering through the brush that my wife was convinced were going to tear through our tent and eat us.

They did not eat us.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:41 PM on February 10, 2022 [4 favorites]

I also wondered if the owls were waiting for me to go inside

Owls: "Shh, there's a Human lumbering about. We'll have to wait until they go away before we can start the party."
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:46 PM on February 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Just yesterday a woman I met while out walking told me that there's a breeding pair of owls in the neighbourhood, and one of them nearly got drowned by a goose when the owl tried to snatch up a gosling. Somebody had to wade in and rescue the owl. That must have been something to see.

Some time ago we were camping, and saw odd shapes on the lawn near where we were staying. It was twilight, so couldn't see properly at first, but it soon became clear that there were eight or nine owls, hopping about in the shadows and making loud clicking noises. I have no idea what they were doing. Maybe hunting for small frogs or lizards in the grass? It was like something from a fairytale.
posted by Zumbador at 1:26 AM on February 11, 2022 [7 favorites]

Owl Clicking

Hadn’t heard of that before, Zumbador.
posted by jamjam at 2:00 AM on February 11, 2022 [5 favorites]

That's fascinating, jamjam ! Apparently the clicking can be part of a threat display. Maybe what we saw was some kind of face off between rival owl gangs :)
posted by Zumbador at 2:30 AM on February 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

I thiiiiiiiiiink I can talk about it now, but this is still unofficial - I've accepted the promotion, which bumps me up from being the assistant to just one guy to office manager for the NY office.

This was LITERALLY the first time in my life I have been offered a promotion EVER, and I had to make an emergency call to a high school friend who now works in HR to ask him "what exactly should I be asking that I'm not realizing I should ask". But after he asked me a couple of "did you ask about X" questions only for me to say "yeah we already had that conversation and I'm cool" my friend finally said "yeah, basically you're overthinking. It's okay, you're good."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:29 AM on February 11, 2022 [19 favorites]

I really, really love this image -- artist used tiger stripes as the bounds of a simple maze as part of a drawing prompt.
posted by curious nu at 8:11 AM on February 11, 2022

Congratulations, EmpressCallipygos. Enjoy!
posted by mumimor at 8:20 AM on February 11, 2022

Maybe what we saw was some kind of face off between rival owl gangs

Maybe they were practicing the "snapping" scene from West Side Story.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:32 AM on February 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

I note that the last two musicals I've been in/am in have/had WSS homages/snapping. That shit gets around.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:57 AM on February 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

Congratulations, EmpressCallipygos! I hope things are going well today, Space Kitty! And thank you to everyone who’s been sharing their stories and sandwiches and thoughts. I love this thread.
posted by Songdog at 10:04 AM on February 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

How are my figure skating peeps feeling about yet another scandal taking the spotlight?

Oh also fuck Eteri Tutberidze and her awful abusive goon squad
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:24 AM on February 11, 2022

I agree that the Honda Fit is the miniest van.

Before I had a baby seat I liked to drive around with all the other seats folded as flat as they would go and just marveled at the enormity of the sheet metal bubble I was sitting in a tiny corner of.

My previous (and occasional weekend) car was an MR2 Spyder, which officially has exactly one cubic foot of storage space (the gap between the spare tire and the lid of the spare tire compartment). I have taken thousand mile trips in that thing.
posted by The Monster at the End of this Thread at 11:42 AM on February 11, 2022 [3 favorites]

I thought I wanted an MR2 until I sat in the driver's seat of one in a dealership and realized my legs were too long for me to be able to drive it. There was so little room between the pedals and the steering wheel that I couldn't maintain the angle my left leg needed to operate the clutch.

Eventually I bought a Honda del Sol, which had the same pedal-to-seat geometry as a regular Civic, which meant I could actually sit in it long enough to drive it. It was surprisingly comfortable, in fact, but people often laughed when they saw a tall guy get out of it. Unlike the MR2 or a Miata it had lots of cargo capacity without the roof panel stowed in the trunk. I used to go pick up sodas for my office and I could fit fourteen cases of 24 cans in the trunk. And like a Miata or any other open top car you could always drive home from IKEA with your BILLY just sticking out the top on the passenger side.
posted by fedward at 1:36 PM on February 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Today's update: while the mask mandate is being dropped in my county next week (really, if the public health officer is still telling people they should be wearing masks, MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T DROP IT), my employer is NOT dropping it, the conference I may go to next month isn't, and the theater I perform at sounds like they may not want to ("we'll discuss it, but if we take off masks, the rates go up again in 2 weeks," sayeth the director). So there's that, at least. I do not look forward to the "My face is freeeeeeeeee!" 'tudes all over the state that nobody can do anything about come Tuesday, though.

I was seriously horrifyingly mad/upset at work Wednesday to the point of calling out sick 2 hours early, but it's been better the last two days, even if one coworker has quit. I got stuff I wanted to do done, including the Big Quarterly Project that I get heavily pressured to get done, which is now actually about done in a week. Huzzah. Now I am down to The Emails I Don't Want To Answer and frankly, I'm not really feeling like putting hard work into trying.

I said I'd do a rehearsal (online, different thing) tonight and then I saw an invite to a cool thing going on at the same time IRL and I am all dammit, dammit, dammit....and am kind of hoping the online rehearsal gets canceled now at the last minute? Which isn't nice of me. Also I'm hungry and don't want to have to rehearse RIGHT after I get out of work...but that's the best option for the East Coasters, so.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:17 PM on February 11, 2022

I am gonna put this here just because of the absurdity factor and horror of Florrible goings on. I just found this paragraph amazing. The article dealt with a couple of politicos getting into a fracas in an expensive restaurant, and one spent the night in jail. This paragraph was astounding to me.

"Mr. Díaz de la Portilla had ordered a burger with extra onions, dining at an outdoor table with the brother of the Coral Gables mayor, who is a lawyer at a big firm, and with a former Miami city commissioner who once served prison time for mortgage fraud, Medicare fraud and voter fraud, and now runs a firm of insurance claims adjusters."

It is almost like the article is about one thing, but it is really about what is wrong with everything.
posted by Oyéah at 4:37 PM on February 11, 2022 [5 favorites]

Some guy on the Slack channel at work lost and then found his keys and that has been the most interesting part of my day.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:43 PM on February 11, 2022 [4 favorites]

Uh, Netflix has the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

I need to order a pizza.
posted by curious nu at 6:48 PM on February 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

1. 88 days until Eurovision. 2. My favorite owl memory: in 2012 a great grey lady moved into the neighborhood to raise her two floofs. We found out because suddenly there were birders EVERYWHERE. It was a mild spring, so for about a week we sat outside with drinks at sunset to watch her hunt. Not so much watch, though. Our first clue she was nearby was a sudden absence of sound, like her wings absorbed all ambient noise. It was unnerving and gorgeous. I think about her every time I walk by her tree.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:19 PM on February 11, 2022 [9 favorites]

So, old theater group story...this group has mostly drifted off during pandemic. One friend of mine who usually makes a big deal about present giving--and I was actually seeing around for a change of late--didn't give me one this year. Given that we had a disagreement this year, I reasonably assumed that not giving me a gift was a part of that. Meanwhile I'd already made a gift and ended up dropping it off and feeling awkward AF about it. The whole thing has been weird. Friend's birthday is next month and I've been thinking "okay, fine, I'm not getting a gift, I'm taking a hint on not doing gifts any more." On a related note, the rest of the friend group didn't do any gifts either after I mailed stuff and I was figuring "fine, I'm not bothering any more next year either, I'm not going to keep making it weird. by doing lopsided gift giving."

Well, guess what: the friend just texted that this entire bunch NOW have gifts and want to do some kind of very late Christmas exchange. I'm totally confused. And thinking "aw fuck, now I have to think of a birthday gift...."
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:51 PM on February 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm starting to reach a point where I'm seriously considering how much longer I'm going to remain at my current employment of 10 years. Things have changed there culturally enough that I feel I'm really out of step with how things are run now, and maybe I need to find another position someplace else. I'd really really really like to find a job in the small town I live in rather than driving the 20 miles into the big city for work like I have for the past 10 years. But I'm 54, and I'm not entirely sure what kind of cross employment would be available to me, as I also want to shift what I'm doing a bit for reasons.

So, I'm doing research, and trying to envision a better future, whether it's finding a path for myself to continue at this job or to find something new at this point in my life.

And those are my Friday thoughts.
posted by hippybear at 7:59 PM on February 11, 2022 [7 favorites]

I was in my van in a mall parking lot, eating free Hawaiian BBQ chips, courtesy of World Market, and washing them down with French Blood Orange and Grapefruit soda. When across the front of my view, comes a little, old man, maybe 5'4", wearing a white shirt with suspenders and slacks; carring a huge bouquet of red roses, with a red heart balloon, floating above, proclaiming, "I Love You." Whomever it is he loves, is lucky. He so carefully seatbelted the flowers in, getting it just right. ♡
posted by Oyéah at 3:46 PM on February 12, 2022 [13 favorites]

the temperature has dropped steadily since i got out of bed 1 hour ago so if i'm gonna go run today i better get to it
posted by glonous keming at 7:58 AM on February 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

I have an online friend who's a playwright that I work on online shows with. I suggested a while back that she submit a 10 minute play of hers to the 10 minute play festival at the theater I performed at pre-pandemic. Well, she finally got in! They want to do it possibly as a radio play or in person with local actors. My old director will be running it. So hopefully that's an in for me to get in--that'd be great. We've been presuming the group is "on hiatus"/dead these days, so I'm glad somebody is doing something--and that my friend got in!
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:38 AM on February 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

New Free Thread
posted by cortex at 8:34 AM on February 14, 2022

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