Saturday, September 6, 2014
Idle observations on a Saturday night
1. I don't think many Americans are familiar with the British drink known as a 'shandy', but I enjoyed them for many years in Africa. Briefly, one blends a beer half-and-half with a mixer, usually ginger ale in my experience, but I've seen Sprite and other mixers used (even apple cider, although I haven't tried that). Anyway, after a bout of moving boxes and stuff this week I was hot and sticky and wanted a long cold drink in the worst way; so I bought some beer and some ginger ale, and for the first time in years mixed myself a shandy. I was instantly reminded of why it's so popular in hot climates. It slips down easily, not sufficiently alcoholic to give one a buzz, but very thirst-quenching. One can have two or three of them over an hour or so without becoming unfit to drive. If you haven't tried a shandy yet, you might be pleasantly surprised. (For the record, I mixed Yuengling traditional lager - which reminds me of the lager beers I was accustomed to in Southern Africa - with Canada Dry ginger ale.)
2. For the past couple of weeks Miss D. and I have been experimenting with ceramic coated frying pans (sets were on sale at a local supermarket, so I picked up one to try it). We've been very pleasantly surprised. The non-stick properties of the ceramic coating appear to be as much of an advance over conventional non-stick coatings (e.g. Teflon) as the latter were over uncoated pans. In fact, it's a real problem to get a blackened effect on chicken, or get pot stickers to actually stick to the pot! The food comes out easily and is very tastily cooked, and the pans are amazingly easy to clean up afterwards. If you haven't tried them yet, I think you'll like them.
3. Most used car salesmen really, really hate being put on the spot. As part of my search for solutions to my truck's electrical problems, I visited a few used car dealers (and used car departments of new car dealers) to price alternative transport. I went well armed with information, having researched possible cars and trucks on Edmunds.com and made lists of what Edmunds terms the 'true market value' of relevant ones for several model years. I always found that the cars' sticker prices were several thousand dollars above those listed by Edmunds, and I always asked the salesmen to justify that. They uniformly tried to persuade me that Edmunds.com didn't know what it was talking about. When I produced corroborating values from NADA and the Kelly Blue Book, they'd fall back on the old "Well, we use a different book" excuse. When I refused to buckle, and insisted on answers, about half of them hemmed and hawed and waffled; the other half simply refused to talk any further. It was an education in how not to sell a car, as far as I was concerned!
Only one dealer was honest enough to tell me that they charged the price they believed the market would bear. If their price was higher than Edmunds' recommendation, it was because that make and model were in demand in this area, or they'd had to invest extra money in getting the vehicle ready for sale (which they backed up with invoices showing the work that had been done). They made no excuses and didn't try to waffle. Guess what? Next time I'm shopping for a used car, I'll go back to Car Hunters in Mount Juliet, TN again. I appreciate honesty and fair dealing, even if it's not necessarily to my financial advantage. Recommended.
Ah, well. It's a quiet Saturday evening after a busy week. I think I'll mix myself another shandy, kick back and read some more of 'Digger' by Ursula Vernon. (Click the image below for a larger view.)
'Digger' was one of Miss D.'s and my favorite web comics during the seven years of its twice-per-week release (the archives are still available online, if you've never read it). When we saw that a one-volume omnibus dead-tree edition had been published, it was a no-brainer purchase for us. We're re-reading it alternately, and rediscovering our shared delight in one of the most original graphic novels either of us have ever read. (I love the snails writing graffiti or waving protest signs in some of the frames - you have to look carefully for them.) Highly recommended.