Holy cannoli do I have a lot to write about! If I think about it too long I will be overwhelmed and not want to write at all, so let me just dive in.
I got a new car! Saturday I went to Carmax in Raleigh with my parents with the intention of test driving a few different models to get a better sense of what I really wanted. My plan was to look now, buy next week. I purposely had not prepared to actually purchase a vehicle (I didn't even have my trade-in with me!), so naturally, I found one that I could not pass up.
I got a Silver 2004 Honda Accord Coupe, 4 cylinder, with all the bells and whistles. I have finally joined the 21st century with those new-fangled "power door locks and windows," not to mention remote entry, a sunroof, a CD changer, and stereo controls on the steering wheel. Oh, and did I mention how much I love the sleek and sporty styling? :-) (More pix here.) It drives like a dream and I absolutely love it. It is surprisingly clean and new-looking for being two years old (with about 30k miles). The other cars I test drove (a Nissan Altima and a Honda Civic) couldn't hold a candle to my Accord. (I didn't test drive a Camry because they didn't have any on the lot with fewer than 50,000 miles.) One of my geeky favorite things right now is how the door sounds when it closes. It is such a satisfying swoosh, you know?
So I'm trying to think of a name for my new car. My last car went its whole life nameless, so I would like to call my current car something uniquely suited to her. Any suggestions?
The whole car-buying process was pretty simple and easy at Carmax. I had a female salesperson who I felt comfortable with, and there was no pressure because there's no negotiating. Due to my being unprepared, the process took a little longer, and of course Saturday is their busiest day, but overall I was pleased with how it worked out. They also gave me a decent price for my trade-in, which they are going to auction off, so I feel better that some unsuspecting customer will not get stuck with its problems. I was kind of sad to see her go...she served me well over the years, and was the first car I bought. The hardest part, though, was giving up the stereo and speakers that I had just installed a year and a half ago. They were kick-butt!
I saw Superman Returns at the IMAX. Wow, what an incredible movie! Four scenes were in 3D, and I wish so many more of them were. The music gives you goosebumps, and the throwbacks to the original movie are very clever. I'd originally wanted to catch the 1:45 showing but it was sold out so I had to go with the 4:45. To kill time, I got a combo ticket for the Exploris museum and looked around there. It's a really neat place! So much interactive stuff for kids but it's fun for adults too. I wasn't really sure what kind of museum Exploris is, because it's not art, it's not history, it's not science. It's kind of a combination of all three, with culture and economics thrown in for good measure. The teacher in me was thinking, "What a great place for a field trip!"
Even though the museum is cool, it still did not take up three hours of my time so I ended up wandering into the presentation room where they usually have a short film about the museum's mission, but yesterday it was showing the World Cup final game. I have never in my life watched soccer, or cared about it in the least, but I totally got into the game! I had to go get in line for the movie at 4, and was bummed when the game went into overtime. But guess what they had playing on a plasma screen for those queued up? So I got to see the 30 min of overtime...which was pointless...and we were entering the theater right after the third penalty kick. Minutes later, from my seat inside, I text messaged Google to find out who won. I heart technology!
I'm writing this from Pittsburgh, PA. Well, technically Belle Vernon, right outside of Pittsburgh. I have trainings in this area all week and apparently, who knew, the baseball All-Star game is here this week. My flight was on time (in the smallest plane I've ever flown in--a two/aisle/one configuration with overhead bins on one side only) but Enterprise did not have the level of car I reserved. They tried to talk me down for a few bucks less a day, but I know how the car rental industry works...if they don't have what you reserved, you get something higher for the same price. So I ended up in a Jeep Liberty. Sweet! It drives quite well, and doesn't feel too big. But I don't like the quality of the interior. It screams "posh utilitarian," if that makes any sense. And get this: it's 4WD! As if I'll take advantage. You're more likely to see Paris Hilton get a PhD in rocket science.
My first opinion of the Pittsburgh area is wouldn't wanna live here. I drove through some gnarly areas. I'm not talking ghettoes, because I haven't been into the city proper, but just really downtrodden, forsaken areas, where you would not want to pull off the road to get a CD from your suitcase even though you can't find a decent radio station. My hotel is about 45 min from the airport, although it took me an hour to get here due to tons of construction and traffic, and it's an okay area. The hotel appears as if it hasn't been renovated since Reagan was president, but it's decent enough. I watched a Dolly Parton special on CMT while reading my blogs and found out lots of interesting things about her. I really like her. She seems so genuine and humble and positive and just a nice person. I would love to go to Dollywood someday. I'll just add it to my ever-growing list!