Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Fit is Go!

It's official. We said good-bye to the Love Boat after over 10 years of having it as our main ride.
Here, you can see the Love Boat fading in to the background as the Fit is ready to come home with us.

As a keepsake, we kept the middle row captains chairs from the van and we're going to make a "love seat" out of them. I'm thinking they'll look great in the living room.

Here's a pic of me giving the van one last hug before we traded it in. You will be missed you big Boat of Love...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cash for Clunkers - Would you take advantage of it?

I'm sure you've heard about it by now. It seems that every time I turn on the radio or the television (I've even seen it advertised on some websites) I'm bombarded with "cash for clunkers" offers. It just passed through our government, and is EVERYWHERE!

I'd heard rumblings about this government incentive to rid the roads of gas-guzzling rides for the past couple of months, but there was no official announcement until just recently. It turns out that the start date for this program was on July 1 and it will be in effect until November 1 or until the $1 billion set aside for this program runs out (whichever comes first).
In short, the Cash for Clunkers (officially "Car Allowance Rebate System" or CARS) program is a government stimulus package that essentially provides a rebate to any person trading in a car that gets a combined (hwy and city) fuel economy of 18 mpg or less. The rebate amount you get depends on how many miles per gallon the new car that you buy gets compared to your old "clunker". Buying a car that gets more than 4, but less than 10 mpg more than the car you're trading in yeilds a $3,500 rebate. Should your new car have a combined fuel economy of 10 mpg or more than the car you're trading in, you will receive a rebate of $4,500.

There are some restrictions, but does a great job of answering a bunch of questions you may have. One caveat is that this only works with new car purchases. There are also some limitations with particular work trucks. I encourage you to do your own research if you think this a good idea.

Now that all of the technical stuff is out of the way, I get to the point of this blog post. Should we trade in The Love Boat for a couple grand towards a new car? More specifically, a black 2009 Honda Fit Sport with a manual transmission, some flashy rims and a thumpin' stereo? Raise your hand if you're ridden with me lately and have heard the "doo-doo bass".
Photo courtesy of Scott Dukes via at did the math and found out that our trusty old van gets 18 mpg (even the original listing when the car debuted says 18 mpg, combined). The Fit gets an average of 31 mpg. That's roughly a 55% increase in fuel economy. (31 / (18 - 1) = % difference) So, if we currently spend $150/mo. on gas for the van (we like to travel), then I could assume that we'd be spending $82.5/month on gas. that right? Somebody help me with the math. I manage projects for a living now. My math skills have gone out the window. Assuming that's correct, we'd be saving $67.5/month...minus the monthly cost to actually pay for the car.

And therein lies our dilemma. All the numbers out on the table and we're probably looking at around $100/month to own a spankin' new Honda Fit Sport (and helping out the environment that much more). Oh yeah, the cool thing about the "cash for clunkers" program is that the car you trade in MUST be sent to a scrap yard and " crushed or shredded so that it will not be resold for use in the United States or elsewhere as an automobile." Kinda hard to stomach the thought of that happening to the van, but it is nice to know that we were the last ones to drive it and that the terrible emissions from that car will cease upon selling it.

So, with all of that said, I'm asking for your help and your opinion. What should we do? If you were in our situation, with a van worth (maybe) $1,000 and over 260,000 miles, would you pull the trigger on the new car and take advantage of this rebate? Whatever your answer, tell me why you think what you do.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


So, this week begins my kettlebell workout routine with a friend from work. Yes, I know what you're saying..."what happened to P90X?". It was a fantastic workout, but I stopped doing it when I got the flu at the end of last year. Then, the holidays were upon us and...well, I guess I'm just making excuses. Sorry Christopher!

Christopher was my accountability partner for P90X. We were so serious about making P90X work for us that we even created a blog to catalog our workouts and other random thoughts. We were about as consistent with that as we were with our workouts.

Now, I'm off to the next shiny new thing; Kettlebells. If you've never heard of a kettlebell, imagine a cannonball with a handle on it. Or, if imagining things is too hard for you, just look at the picture to the left. There are literally dozens (maybe even hundreds) of exercises you can do with a kettlebell. Right now, I'm only working on swings (goofy-looking, air-humping, arm swings between your legs) and getups (lie down, hold HEAVY weight above your head and try to stand up while not dropping it on your dome). Check out these videos if you want to see some actual examples of the workouts and techniques. Anybody out there got a workout program that they're doing and seems to be working for them?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Top Gear - Season 13

Tonight is the night I've been waiting for since last Fall. A tradition that Sony and I have been dragged into (actually, most willingly). I'm referring to a get-together we know as "Top Gear Night".

We have a great group of friends here in Knoxville. Most of which attend Christ Community Church with us. The tradition of Top Gear Night basically just involves all of us gathering around somebody's glowing picture box to watch the latest episode of the greatest show ever -- Top Gear. A beautifully produced program on the BBC 2 about cars, Top Gear spares no expense to make quality entertainment with exceptional production quality...and a bit of good ol' British humor.

Now, I'll probably catch a lot of flack from some of you hardcore peeps out there, but neither Sonya, nor I are really "car people". You know what I mean when I say that. Neither of us could talk to you about cars in any intelligent manner...unless we're talking about the Volvo or the Love Boat. What I can tell you is that this show is just fun and pretty to watch! The amount of effort they put into its production is definitely noticeable.

Watch this clip from last season and you'll see what I mean. Be sure to click the HQ (High Quality) button in order for it to play correctly. (If that doesn't work, just click here to watch the video on YouTube.) If you're not a fan of the show after watching this, I don't know what to say.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Improv Everywhere...even in Knoxville!

So, while perusing the interwebs, I came across this video on Ken Wilson's blog...

I had to watch it a few times to see all of the people's faces that were not part of this event. Someday, this will be me! I will don my hammer pants (or other mission critical attire) and dance, sing and act like I don't care who's watching...because it's not as embarrassing when everybody's doing it, right?

In watching this video, I was reminded of the whole Improv Everywhere movement (a.k.a. Urban Prankster) and how I still long to be a part of that. Knoxville has a group, which I am a part of, but haven't gotten involved with any such events...YET!

Take some time to check out the Improv Everywhere website and some of the classic missions they've done over the years. Then, find your local Urban Prankster group and make a scene!