Yeah, right.

So I was looking up BP stations just a little while ago. We had a $25 gift card from one of Jaime‘s relatives that was given to us as a Christmas gift.

I go to their site and hunt around for quite a while in order to find the station locator (why is that not prominently displayed in the navigation section?).

I stumble upon this:

As Jaime put it: $1.67?!?!?!?! I haven’t seen those prices since last century.

So is this just an outdated webpage? Or– note that there is no decimal point– is this a sign of things to come? $167 / gallon gas?

I have no clue. But I did find a bit of humor in it.

How Cuba Can Open Trade with the United States

How Cuba Can Open Trade with the United States:

Step 1. Announce the initiation of your shiny new nuclear program
Step 2. Wait a few years.
Step 3. Announce that you have discontinued your nuclear program.

See: President Bush Discusses North Korea

It worked for one communist nation, why not Cuba? Hell, Cuba isn’t evil while, according to the president, North Korea is evil. This should be a slam dunk.

We can all smoke a cigar while talking on our communist Chinese cellphones as we celebrate the lifting of our unjustified and hypocritical embargo against Cuba.

And people wonder why the international community considers our foreign policy to be a joke.

Come on, MSNBC

Come on, MSNBC!

The Supreme Court just issued a landmark ruling, affirming our creator-given right to own guns for defense. This impacts 300,000,000 people today, and billions in the future. It is incredibly important.

What is MSNBC covering? Some scumbag who killed his wife and kid.

Call me cold. Call me insensitive. Call me whatever you want.

I couldn’t care less about some murdering thug who killed his family. The highest court in the land just told the government to suck it and the people that they can defend themselves. This is more important than any individual or any murder.

MSNBC just went to break, saying they’d cover this when they got back. They came back. It was covered for less than 20 seconds. And now, flooding and weather.

Hey MSNBC, did you ever wonder why you’re last in the ratings? Yeah, this is why. It’s because your coverage priorities are highly misaligned, and as a result, you– how do you say it… oh yeah— YOU SUCK!

Symetrix 421m AGC-Leveler

Hey, you– the guy with the rack of audio gear sitting in your closet that you never use. Or maybe you work at a radio station with piles of old, unused analog gear that you replaced with that fancy-pants digital system. Or heck, maybe you work at Symetrix and have oodles and oodles of gear sitting in a warehouse.

Whoever you are, if you have a Symetrix 421m AGC-Leveler and if you’re not using it, I need it. Actually, I need two of them.

I don’t have a heck of a lot of money, but I do have a genuine need for a pair of 421m AGC-Levelers. Here’s why:

Jaime and I host this little online talk show called America’s Debate Radio. We talk politics, and take phone calls. I’ve rigged together a duct tape, rubber band, and bondo studio and I think I’ve done a fairly good job at it. We sound good. But there’s a problem.

The problem is that when we take calls, I have to direct a ton of attention to making sure the callers levels fall in line. Too high and I risk clipping. Too low and the listeners can’t hear the caller. And in this age of cell phones and voip, we all know that levels are all over the map.

So it goes like this. Someone calls. We put them on the air. Jaime handles the first few minutes of the call while I rush to tweak levels. Without fail, the caller asks me a question. I have been paying attention to VU and dB meters, adjusting levels, reducing bass, tweaking treble. The question is asked and my response is similar to, “Errrr…uhhh….duhhhh…. ummmm…. ” That is because I had to direct my attention at audio gear and not at what the caller was saying.

To put it in just a few words, I have to spend my time paying attention to gear and not the caller, and it makes me sound like an idiot, and it lessens the quality of the show.

SOOOOoooooooooooooooo…..

If you have any Symetrix 421m units sitting around, please, by all means, let me know. Hopefully we can work out a fair price or trade.

:)

Only the Federal Government is This Stupid

The Article: Housing rescue plan passes key Senate test

The mortgage aid plan would let the Federal Housing Administration back $300 billion in new, cheaper home loans for an estimated 400,000 distressed borrowers who otherwise would be considered too financially risky to qualify for government-insured, fixed-rate loans.

So let me get this right. We have 400,000 people who are fiscally irresponsible. So fiscally irresponsible in fact that they have chosen not to make payment on one of the fundamental requirements of human life: shelter.

Beyond the lack of fiscal responsibility, the very same 400,000 people also lack a fundamental requirement for American success: foresight. They couldn’t tell that they were over-extending their finances when they signed the documents to purchase their homes.

I think you can see where I’m going here.

400,000 losers. 400,000 people who made bad life decisions and who should suffer the consequences. 400,000 people who have proven they lack foresight, fiscal responsibility, and desire to provide for themselves the basic necessity of life. 400,000 people who signed a contract to pay for their home who ended up unable to hold up their end of the agreement.

So please, someone, anyone, tell me– why exactly should the fine taxpayers of these United States bail these folks out? Why should we exert our confidence in these deadbeats to the tune of $300,000,000,000?

Oh yeah. I know the reason. It’s an election year.

We are fools for allowing our Congress to buy votes in this fashion.

Making New Holes in a Swiss Cheese Budget

So Jaime and I have basically resigned to getting a brand new car. We don’t want one– we don’t. But, we can’t stand to buy a used car. Either we’ll overpay at a dealership for a car of questionable past (they haggle 8 hrs a day, I haggle 8 hrs a decade,– who has the advantage there…?), or we’ll get a fair price on a private party sale for a car of a questionable past.

We just can’t do it. We can’t sink $10,000 into a used car that has no warranty, no maintenance records, and no provable accident history. With our luck, any used car we buy will need brakes ($300), tires ($300), radiator/transmission fluid replacement (Uhh, $200?), a timing belt (who gets those replaced? People who have had them break, that’s who) (Uhh, $400?), sparkplugs/general tune-up ($125), fuel filter ($10), air filter ($20), and likely tons of other wear items that I’m forgetting, but also require regular replacement.

Add those expenses up: In a best-case situation on a used car with around 75,000 miles on it, we’ll have to pay another $1,355 to own the car over the course of the first year. And that doesn’t include costs for any repairs (our luck = broken car + $1,000 to fix it). And it also doesn’t include the fact that, over the life of a car, gas mileage slips. A car that gets 30mpg today might only get 28mpg when it’s 5 years old.

The numbers just don’t add up for us. We need a dependable, fuel-efficient car that isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg to own. We have no choice– we have to buy a new car.

So anyway, before I tell you all about the car we intend upon buying (a post for a different day), I want to get to the real issue of this post: hidden budget drains. I’m talking about items that you buy because you’ve always bought them, but you’ve never really added up the cost.

Here’s my example. I drink Coke. I know, it’s terrible for me. It’s not even that good, really– it tastes fake. But that’s neither here nor there.

So I drink Coke, about two 12-packs a week. At $4 for a twelve pack, I spend about $416 per year on Coke. Yes, $416 a year on Coke. Insane. That works out to 2.8 cents per ounce, rounded up.

In an effort to scrounge up the budget room to buy a brand new car, I am going to try to commit to stop drinking coke. In it’s place, I will drink iced tea– mint flavored and home-brewed, my favorite.

Here’s the price breakdown:

Ingredient Cost Gallons Made Cost Per Gallon
Mint Teabags (20) $3.00 5 gallons $0.60
Regular Teabags (100) $3.00 25 gallons $0.12
Sugar (4lb)(9 Cups) $3.00 18 gallons $0.17
Water (1 gallon) $0.10 1 Gallon $0.10
Total Cost Per Gallon $0.99


Note that I estimated the cost of the items. I believe the mint tea is usually about $2.79, the regular tea is about $2.49, the sugar is about $2.49, and I have no idea how much the city charges us so I took a guess on the cost of the water.

When I do the math on that, I find that the cost of the tea is $0.008/ounce. Yes, eight-tenths of a cent per ounce.

Compare that to coke. $0.028 per oz vs $0.008. Coke is about 3.5 times more expensive than iced tea.

Add that up over a year:

14,976 oz Coke: $416.00
14,976 oz Tea: $119.81

That means that over the course of a year, I would spend $296.19 less on beverages, or a reduction in beverage cost of 71.2%

So, with the down payment we’re looking at on this car, our monthly payment will be around $200 for 4 years. If I simply switch from soda to tea, over the life of our loan, we would save $1184.76. Divided by our monthly payment and we end up paying the car off about six months earlier.

Of course, that doesn’t factor in for loan interest (we’d pay less interest if we paid the loan off six months earlier, thereby saving even more money). It also doesn’t figure in the tax on the beverages, and obviously the more expensive the beverages, the more tax is paid. So we’ll save even more money there.

Crazy, isn’t it? All I have to do is switch from soda to tea and a 48 month loan becomes a 42 month loan. Plus, I end up with a better-tasting, less-unhealthy beverage.

Attention AP: Get a Spell Check

Article: Judge rules for White House in e-mail controversy

In that case, a judge is considering whether to instruct the EOP on steps it must to take to safeguard electronic messages. The White Houes is seeking to have that suit thrown out.

White Houes?

Houes?

Get a freaking spell check.

Or better yet, just close up shop so we can, for once and for all, get rid of the cookie cutter crap journalism and less-than-skillful writers that the AP has established as their status quo.

2008 Garden Update #5

Well as promised, here are some recent photos of the garden. I took these this morning, the day after the big transplant.

Here’s the herb and ornamental pepper portion of the garden. The peppers that are in there are: 6 Thai peppers, 3 fluorescent purples, and a medusa. Other than that, we’ve got six curly parsley, six catnip, six sweet basil, four purple basil, one spicy globe basil, on Thai basil, one rosemary, and probably some plants that I can’t recognize. Yes, I am aware that my catnip is down hard in this image, and in need of water. The reason is that the catnip is in a black 7″ pot with no mulch or anything to hold in moisture, is in full sun, is fully rootbound, and it was freaking 97 degrees out today. Yeah, if I were a plant, I’d want to lay in the dirt, too.

This next one is a shot of the majority of our peppers. These peppers transitioned from cell trays to styrofoam cups to 7″ pots and now to their final pots, varying between 4.5 gallons and 7.7 gallons per pot. The two peppers that are closest in view in the five gallon buckets are our two carry-overs from last year. On the left is a Tabasco pepper, which last year grew to about six feet in a way-undersized 8″ terra cotta pot. It yielded about 200 peppers or so. On the right is the Scotch Bonnet originally from grocery store seed. Last year, it barely grew. It made it up to maybe a foot and a half, and it yielded two or three peppers that didn’t mature until November, and which I didn’t eat. They were a nice yellow color, though, if I recall correctly. You can’t tell, but there are at least a dozen and a half peppers on that plant, some that I expect to change color any day now. Jaime even observed that the peppers, which were hanging down for the majority of the fruit growth, have turned up towards the sun– almost as if they somehow rotate when the time to change colors approaches.

Same section, shot from the other side. You can easily see the massive size of these 7.7 gallon pots. They took a ton of potting mix to fill, but my bet is that the results will be spectacular. You can also see that the majority of our peppers are still pretty small– between a foot and about two and a half feet. That’s about as I expected, considering these were started from seed on March 19 and germinated by about April 1. Given that our peppers grew to between four and six feet last year in 8″ pots, I’m expecting great results out of our big pots this year.

Here’s a closeup of one of the Scotch Bonnet peppers. It’s nice and big, and is tempting me to pull it off and eat it. Considering it’s June 9 and I’ll start harvesting in probably just two or three weeks from now, it looks like we’ll be eating some nice, spicy food this Independence Day.

Here’s one of the fluorescent purple peppers that I’ve been raving about. Look closely at the leaves. You’ll notice silvery patches, purple patches, and some patches that look almost pearlescent. Everyone I show it to says that they’ve never seen anything like it before. Good job, Pepper Joe!

And last, here is a closeup of one of the fluorescent purple pepper’s flowers. Purple leaves, purple flowers, purple peppers (while ripening)– what a cool pepper.

That’s it for now. I’ll be posting more pictures and information soon, especially considering that just today I transplanted about 20 herbs from 12oz cups into 7″ pots. Dill, cilantro, oregano, sage, thyme, and– oh yeah, not an herb, but…– some decorative blue fescue grass.

Envirocrap

Let’s call modern environmentalism what it is: envirocrap.

Most of the time when I read an article that is obviously meant to be “pro-environment,” I come up with critical flaws in the presentation of the subject matter. These flaws reveal what appears to be the author’s true intent in writing the article: pushing a personal agenda.

Take for example, this article. The article basically states that the Minneapolis City Council has voted to pass an ordinance limiting vehicular idling to no more than three minutes. Of course, I see tons of problems with the legislation itself: police idle all day long by necessity, some vehicles require idling to operate (cement trucks for example), and semis must idle for an extended period of time– especially in Minneapolis winters– to properly warm up the engine, just to name a few.

Hell, I even think it’s a good idea to limit idling– if a person chooses to do so. I am, of course, opposed to any laws such as this. I refuse to consider government-enforced environmentalism as being conducted under the right motives until, at a minimum, the legislative body exerting their power outlaws drive through windows, mandates closed-cooling grocery stores, and mandates automatic door closers for homes. Hell, what am I saying? There are no “right motives” for the government to enforce their opinions upon the populace.

But anyway, back to this article, and why I don’t like it. Here’s the quote:

Vehicle motors release particulate matter, dirt, nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the air. These chemicals are linked to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease and asthma and are the major source of human-caused climate change.

OK, this statement is clearly presented as fact, correct? Now, answer me this:

If a chemical like dirt is “linked to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease and asthma and are [is] the major source of human-caused climate change,” then why can I buy bags of dirt at the store? Why can I have dirt in my yard? Why can a person who works at a greenhouse, as I once did, conduct their work without the same sorts of chemical suits that are used when spraying pesticides?

If a chemical like dust– referenced here as “particulate matter”– is “linked to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease and asthma and are [is] the major source of human-caused climate change,” then why– in the name of national health and safety– do we not have a National Dusting Corp whose duty it is to eradicate the deadly dust that brings us closer to death with each passing day?

Ooooh. I get it. The author is saying that the particulate matter and the dust– the items listed first– can cause asthma– the symptom/disease listed third. Is this spin? Is this pushing an agenda? Is this just careless or incompetent journalism? I’d argue it’s the second and third.

All the author had to do in order to remove the agenda from these two sentences was to substitute an “and” with an “or,” and add in “believed to be.” It is likely that either careless or incompetent journalism dictated otherwise.

Compare these, my bolding. The original:

Vehicle motors release particulate matter, dirt, nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the air. These chemicals are linked to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease and asthma and are the major source of human-caused climate change.

My one-word change and three word addition:

Vehicle motors release particulate matter, dirt, nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the air. These chemicals are linked to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease or asthma and are believed to be the major source of human-caused climate change.

There, see how easy that was? Now any reader who implied that dirt caused cancer or was the major source of human-caused climate change would be a fool. As it stands, it is the author who appears foolish.

I could go on and on dissecting this piece, but I’m not going to go any further. I will say, however, that the cumulative effect of articles like these– articles that distort reality– is that the masses of asses eventually begin to believe whatever assertions that those in a position of information authority decide to make. And that can not be good.

Car Accident Update

This is just an update to my prior post about the car accident in which I was involved. As you recall, another driver traveling at about 35mph collided head-on with my Corolla, which was traveling at about 10mph. Airbags all around, no major injuries, and the other driver was at fault and cited for failure to yield.

His insurance company, State Farm, has decided to total out my car. They initially offered me $6,000 or so, plus a few hundred for tax, title, etc., so around $6400. Most everyone I talked to said that it’s a take it or leave it situation, but I have to tell you that it is not. Their initial offer is just that– an offer.

I had a list of reasons why my car was improperly valued, focusing on the fact that the NADA website states that they only list the most common options. My contention was that the appraiser missed quite a few options for which I paid (Winter package w/ upgraded starter and heat, color-keyed mirrors (match the body paint), a trailer hitch (used for my bike rack), and floor and trunk mats). I had the original sticker from the day I bought my car (Oct 28, 2000), and I knew exactly what I paid for those options. I used them as a negotiating tactic– “You valued a base-model Corolla, which my car was not”– and was able to get them to up the offer a little bit. Hey, something is better than nothing, right?

I was able to talk them up to an even $7,000, which to me isn’t that bad. Hell, $6,500 wasn’t bad, and was certainly more than what I’d get were I to sell the car outright, prior to the accident. But, $7,000 is better. The car had a broken windshield, the lights on the dashboard had started to go out, the Savannah heat had caused just about all the door and window seals and plastic to pop (some torn right off), the interior was in terrible shape, the door was missing an interior handle, and I had never even checked– let alone replaced– my transmission fluid and antifreeze. Of course, I had done some repairs to the car– two new tires for $100 or so, and new brake drums and pads on the back for another $60 or so, plus my own labor. So I only got to use those parts for about 90 days.

I’d say $7,000 is pretty fair.

So tomorrow, Jaime is taking the day off and we’re buying a car. We’ll have the $7,000 to spend, along with up to $3,000 that is available to us from our bank if we need it.

I’ll let you know what we get!

2008 Garden Update #4

Welcome to my fourth garden update for 2008. At least I think it’s the fourth update. Regardless, here we go.

I don’t want to spend much time on the herb portion of the garden other than to say that some of the herbs are growing very well, and some of them have been neglected and are desperately in need of a transplant.

The varieties that are growing well are the basils– sweet, spicy globe, purple. By luck, our purple basil contained a Thai basil seed, and that is growing well. For those of you who have only grown sweet basil, I highly recommend you try some other varieties. The purple basil is beautiful. It makes a great garnish and can add a nice color to a dish. The flavor is pretty much the same as the sweet basil. The spicy globe basil and Thai basil depart in flavor and aroma from the standard sweet basil. They smell very licorice-ey, and maintain some of that in the flavor. I’ve enjoyed using it, and if you like basil, you will too.

Other good-growing herbs are (for once) mint, catnip, curly parsley, and rosemary. I need to transplant the sage, thyme, oregano, cilantro (won’t make it in our heat anyway, why bother?), dill (same as cliantro), and flat parsley.

So time for the peppers.

Jaime and I spent all day today working on the pepper plants. Almost all of our peppers were in 7″ pots before today, and ranged in height from 8″ to 30″. Only one pepper remains in styrofoam– the Red Savina Habanero. It’ll be transplanted into a 7″ pot soon. It’s just a slow grower.

We transplanted into regular potting mix. I forget the brand, but it’s the cheapest stuff they had at Lowes– $11 for 3 cubic feet. I have a bunch of $10 off $25 coupons, so we’re basically buying our dirt in $25 increments (for $15). We called around to the nurseries and greenhouses for bulk potting mix, but none of them had any (or were closed on Saturday, dummies).

I like potting mix, but it often seems too dense to me. Too much peat and too much bark, or at least the wrong shape bark. I used to work at a greenhouse, and we used a nice potting mix that contained a bit more perilite than most commercial mixes, and the bark was almost like little pebbles of bark. We grew everything in this same exact mix– tens of thousands of mums, thousands of poinsettias (for the Chicago Botanical Garden no less), and hundreds of thousands of other plants ranging from geraniums to begonias, from vinca to verbena, from ivy to asters. We made no adjustments to the soil for PH or texture or absorbtive qualities or anything like that. We used a good quality potting mix, and we used it for everything with incredible success.

So, here is what I’ve come up with for my peppers. I start with the regular potting mix from the store. To each cubic foot of potting mix, I add about 3 quarts of perilite. This aerates the soil, making it much more porous and light. I have found that garden plants grow grow well in this ratio.

For nutrient supplement, I add two heaping tablespoons of CRF (controlled release fertilizer) with micro-nutrients (important, don’t buy CRF without it), just to juice the mix a bit. I also add two heaping tablespoons of bone meal, which technically is an under-application, but the CRF covers most everything the plant needs anyway. If you’ve never used/seen/heard of bone meal before, it’s exactly as it sounds: a meal made from bones. Think corn meal, but with bones instead of corn. It’s 1-11-0, so it’s a low nitrogen source and a pretty good phosphorous source. The phosphorous will help the peppers set lots of nice strong blooms that will hopefully become nice healthy peppers. Bone meal is slow release– it takes a while for bone to break down, and the effects of the fertilizer are realized over time.

With soil like this, I shouldn’t have to fertilize my peppers at all throughout the season. They should have everything they need available to them from the minute they hit the pot.

For pests, I’m trying paraffin oil this year, which I bought as a concentrate that is sprayed on. All the research I’ve done indicates it’s kerosene, although I can tell you it is not kerosene. It isn’t marked as flammable, and doesn’t smell like kerosene. I’m not sure what it is, but it says it is made from natural ingredients. Any way you look at it, it’s got to be better than the fairly ineffective Sevin dust, and it’s got to be less deadly than the pesticide of last resort– Malathion.

For anti-fungal treatment, I’m using the same as last year: Liquid Copper. It’s a beautiful blue liquid that appears to be copper suspended in ammonia. You mix it with water and spray it on. You have to keep shaking it because if you don’t, the copper will settle back down to the bottom. Strange stuff, but it works incredibly well to rid your peppers of bacterial spot. I’m spraying this as a preventative this year, since our crop was severely diminished last year by my inability to diagonse and treat bacterial spot.

So anyways, the peppers. I feel like I’ve already said that.

As of right now, in the final pots, we have the following:

  • 6 Bell Peppers
  • 2 Hungarian Hot Paprika Peppers
  • 4 Long Red Slim Cayenne Peppers
  • 3 White Habanero Peppers
  • 3 Spicy Mustard Habanero Peppers
  • 3 Sweet Paprika Peppers
  • 3 Fluorescent Purple Peppers (one is not fluorescent for some reason)
  • 1 Pimento Pepper
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • 1 Tabasco Pepper

That’s 27 plants, all in containers. Considering the average container size is about 6 gallons or so, we’re looking at roughly a yard of potting mix. Holy crap!

Our two Caribbean Red Hot Peppers are still in 7″ pots, growing slowly as expected. We’ve also got a half dozen Thai chili peppers in 7″ pots, as well as a Medusa Pepper that we picked up last week. We have one remaining Fluorescent Purple Pepper to transplant, although it’s not fluorescent like the rest. And of course, the Red Savina I mentioned above.

That is all for now. I’ll take some photos as soon as I can and post them in 2008 Garden Update #5. Stay tuned…

Car Accidents Suck

EDIT: Photos below.

In keeping with my apparent theme of things that suck, today I’m going to skip over companies that I think did me wrong and focus on something entirely different: car accidents.

This past Saturday, Jaime and I headed out to the store to buy some plant stands for our hot peppers, and to the grocery store for the few remaining ingredients we needed to make gumbo for dinner. We started our roux (it takes an hour and a half) and we headed out.

We took our usual route to the store. We were headed south, traveling about 30-35 mph on a two lane road. We approached an intersection where two one-way roads separated by a 25 foot median intersected our road, with the first one-way we were to cross being westbound and the second being eastbound.

We entered the intersection, and about 15 feet later the light turned yellow. I was committed– I was well past the threshold of the intersection, traveling at 30-35mph. I couldn’t have stopped, and barring some sort of psychic event, I was going through the intersection.

Almost immediately after the light turned yellow, I saw another vehicle approaching us, traveling the opposite direction as us– north. The driver of the other car, who also had a yellow light at that point, was attempting to turn left (our right) and head west down the one-way. Unfortunately, he incorrectly judged the distance and rate of speed at which we were traveling. He accelerated, attempting to beat both the light, and my car.

I slammed on my breaks, and we started skidding. Time seemed to slow down during the brief instant between the time I thought, “Hm, I might crash” and when I realized, “Oh !@#$% I’m gonna crash.” I basically had two options. Either I could cut my wheel hard, and hope that the impact was on the side of the car, or I could go head on with this guy. I dri(o)ve a Corolla– if I were to get into a side impact accident, whoever was on the side of the car where the impact occurred would likely have been severely injured or killed. I didn’t want to die, and I surely wasn’t going to sacrifice Jaime. Head on was the decision.

I kept my foot on the brakes, and turned to face Jaime just before impact. Our cars collided with our headlights literally matching up. There was a lot of noise– awful noise. You know, that terrible plastic crunch? Terrible. The airbags deployed, thankfully and we were both, of course, wearing our seatbelts. As soon as the crash was over, I asked Jaime if she was OK, and she was. I then said that we needed to get out of the car as quickly as possible in case there was a fire or other danger.

We got out of the car, and went to check on the other driver. He was OK, out of his car. In the blur that occurred next, I’m not sure what was said. There was no anger or hostility involved. We had all just made it through a very dangerous head-on collision. I think we were all amazed that we were ok.

The other driver was dazed, obviously. He grabbed his cellphone, and couldn’t remember who to call. He couldn’t remember to call 911. Finally, he called, and told the operator where we were. Amazingly, the operator could not simple put “the intersection of this street and that street.” They actually needed a freaking address. How stupid is that? We were just driving and in a car accident. How the hell are we to know the address of where we just so happened to collide? So, we looked for an address briefly and somehow, I’m not sure, the other driver ended up getting off the phone with them.

The first help to respond was, believe it or not, a group of Savannah firefighters in a big ol’ firetruck. I think they were just in the area and happened to hear the call. They made sure we had no life-threatening injuries, and then started the task of making sure our vehicles were safe. The police arrived– three cars– as the fire department was disconnecting my batter to stop the smoking from my steering wheel.

I gave my statement, which basically consisted of “I was going through the intersection, the light turned yellow, I saw a guy coming right for me, I slammed on the breaks, and we collided.” Apparently the other driver’s story matched up, which makes sense considering I heard him tell someone on his phone that it was his fault. He was cited for failing to yield, and I was not cited.

The tow truck came and took my car away, and I’ll likely never drive it again. The front end just smooshed. The hood crumpled up, the bumper crumpled down, the headlights popped off the sides. The quarterpanels crumpled into the door. The windshield shattered. My car is totaled. It is literally 3 feet shorter now than it was before the accident. To top it off, my car was towed to an impound lot of some sort, and that lot is surely outside. Well, my windows are open, and it rained hard last night and again today. Rain, followed by heat, in the South? Yup, my car is likely growing mold as I type.

The most important part, though, is that Jaime and I– and the other driver– are OK. Jaime ended up with a big bruise on her knee, a sprained pinkie/ring finger on her left hand, a strained muscle in the back of her left leg, and some soreness where the seatbelt was. I ended up with a little soreness where the seatbelt was, a bit of airbag rash, and over several hours developed a stiff neck that is mostly gone and seems to be healing. Amazingly, no medical attention was required for any of us. The airbags did their job, the car crumpled as expected, and the cabin of the car remained 100% in tact.

Jaime and I literally walked home. We were offered rides, but there is something to be said about walking away on your own power after going through an accident like that. We were walking, and nothing was going to stop us. Stubborn asses.

Looking back, there’s nothing I think I could have done to improve the result. Obviously, a head-on impact was preferable to a side impact. I credit instinctual reaction time to lessening the damage and the potential for injury. If I had to estimate, my car was only traveling 5 to 10 miles per hour at the time of impact, while the other driver was going 30 to 40 miles per hour. If I were not so fast on the brakes, we could have hit with each of us traveling at 30 miles per hour. I don’t know about you, but the slower I’m going, the better I like my odds of survival in a car crash.

My brother drove me to get a rental today, and we had to pass through the same intersection. This time, we got stopped at the light. I checked out the road, and you can clearly see fifteen to twenty feet of skid marks that were left by my car. There are no skid marks to indicate that the other driver even attempted to brake.

I’m expecting my car to be totaled, and I’m planning on getting another small car like a Corolla. I’m waiting to hear back from the other driver’s insurance company to see where we go from here.

By the way, we never made it to the store that day. I had to improvise the gumbo, replacing the shrimp with chicken, omitting the green pepper, and swapping out the andouille for… uhh… hotdogs. It was actually really good!

Anyway, thanks for reading. I’m glad I was here to write it.

EDIT: Here are some images of my car that I managed to sneak.