Wheels And Deals

Saturday April 25th, 2009 – Waukegan, IL

Cruddy weather today. April showers are supposed to bring May flowers but this kind of nastiness only brings head colds and the flu. What really rots is driving in this kind of slop because the temperature is just right so car windows get foggy and nobody can see.

Everyone is trying to get the defroster to blow the fog off the windows and when I try to do it with my sleeve it smears and makes it worse. Then if I try to open a window my arm gets soaked from rain so it’s a constant battle to keep the windows clear enough to see out of so when there is a head on collision I can see the look on the oncoming driver’s puss.

I really didn’t have to leave the house today because I had plenty to keep me busy but it didn’t stop me from taking a lap at the car auction in Waukegan. I enjoy it and I wanted a little break so I’m not going to apologize to anyone. It was fun and I ended up buying yet another Toyota Camry. I wasn’t planning on it at all but the deal came to me and I took it.

I’ve been through this scenario so many times I lost count. A nice car comes along and I see dealers bidding on it and when they stop I bid once more and get a good deal. They all know what they can retail it for so if I bid one more time that’s cheaper than I’d be able to get it for at their lot. I’ve bought a bunch of nice cars that way and today I did it yet again.

The reason I bought this one is that there are only 60,000 miles on the odometer and it’s an obvious upgrade. Someone kept it in a garage and the interior is much cleaner than the one I have now. If I have to keep one of my tin cans for a while I’d much rather have it be this new one so this was the correct decision. I‘m not looking to keep on horse trading.

The title is listed as ‘rebuilt’ and that can mean a lot of things but I’ve had that situation before and the car turned out to be a cherry. It was an older Acura Legend and I drove that thing all over North America. The only reason I got rid of it is that the computer inside of those malfunction if it sits for a few days. It became a hassle when I would fly to do gigs.

Toyota Camrys are really starting to win me over. The first one I had was a solid car but I sold it to Jim McHugh because he needed something reliable for his family and gigs too. It still purrs and looks good and Jim hasn’t had any problems at all. Then I ended up with a second one but that got wrecked in December in Milwaukee. Then I bought a third one.

That’s the one I’m driving now. I did have to stick money into it for brakes, tires, a tune up and a new radiator but it runs really smooth. The only thing that worries me is the loud crunch every time I make a left turn. I’m sure there has to be some front end work done at some point and the radio doesn’t work very well because some ass broke off my antenna.

Other than that it’s been reliable and it doesn’t look horrible but whatever luster it may have had is now long gone. It’s transportation. Period. I really don’t want to stick money into fixing the front end and the muffler is starting to dangle so that will need attention at some point as well. Plus I need to get the antenna fixed on the radio. It’s driving me nuts.
These are all little things that don’t mean a damn thing in the scheme of life so I’m not going to worry about any of it. I nabbed a (hopefully) decent new old car and I’ll do what I need to do to get it running as well as I can and then I’ll either dump the one I have now or take it over to Jerry Agar’s house and let him use it as a second car to haul kids around.

The one I bought today was $1675 plus a $200 auction fee plus a $60 paperwork fee the auction tacks on every car that’s sold. Still, for right around two grand I wound up with a nice looking car that will need more work but still end up being a lot cheaper than buying a new one or even a late model used one. This one is a ‘94 but it really looks immaculate.

I could run the one I have now through the auction and I’m sure I’d probably get around $1200-$1500 so that would bring my price down significantly but I’m not going to be in a hurry to do that. I’d much rather have a spare at Jerry’s and take my time and get it up to a level where I can depend on it. I need a reliable car and in the long run I made a good buy.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is to immediately get an oil change the day I buy anything from the auction. Unless I see a sticker on the windshield that says it was a month or less since the oil was changed I take care of it on my own. That’s smart business and I did it today. They said the transmission fluid needs changing and that’s a red flag.

If the title said ‘rebuilt’ it was probably in an accident and someone had it fixed. I know a car that old doesn’t have 60,000 miles on it so it’s anybody’s guess what the story is on it. I guess I could look it up online but now I almost don’t want to know. It looks like new and I’ll suck it up and have it fixed even if it means dropping a different tranny into it.

My credit card was down to zero so I juiced it up again but I’ll figure out what needs to be done and finish the work and start paying it down to zero again. This was a smart thing to do in the long run. I fully realize there was risk involved but I wanted to upgrade while an opportunity presented itself and when it’s all said and done it won’t cost me my shorts.

On a very positive note I got a call today from Pedro Bell. He’s the Chicago based artist who did the cover art for many of George Clinton’s Funkadelic albums and I want to hire him to do the cover art for my upcoming CD. I’d love to have him do several but for now I will focus on one and see how it goes. He has a very distinct style and his fans love him.

Most of my fans would have no idea who Pedro Bell or George Clinton are so that’s an even better reason to hire him to do it. My product will stand out and be unique in comic circles and those who are hip will think it’s neat that I hired ‘Captain Draw’ for my CD.

This doesn’t please anyone but me but that’s all I care about. I’m a huge fan of Pedro’s and of George’s and all of Funkadelic’s albums too. To have the same artist draw one up for my project makes me feel like I’ve made it. It will be something I won‘t ever forget.

It’s going to cost me a chunk of cash but like with the car I won’t worry about it. This is a once in a lifetime chance to do something I find very cool. That’s what life is all about.

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