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Baldric Can Haz New Wheelz June 24, 2009

Posted by baldricman in Baldric-Man.
Tags: , , , ,

Whoohoo! Last night, I finally bought myself a sunroof! It was pretty expensive, but, as luck would have it, it came with a free car attached underneath, to sweeten the deal!

Mine looks like this one

Mine looks like this one

In the end, after checking out quite a broad range of types of vehicles, from SUVs to MPVs, sedans, and hatchbacks, I finally settled on an Opel Astra 1.6. It’s a really comfy car, got just enough gadgets to keep me entertained for a few weeks, and appeals to my sense of what looks good in a car. It’s a much smaller engine than my previous one, which is taking a bit of getting used to (previous car was a good old meaty Kadett 200iS), but it’s a real pleasure to drive, and I feel quite comfortable that I have bought a more sensible car this time round (low mileage, recent model, great condition, still on motorplan), and don’t have any misgivings about having bought for “fun”. Did I mention it has a sunroof? Well, it does.

It also looks a bit like this one

Mine looks a bit like this one too

My congratulations to the car salesman who clearly read my post, Baldrics Tips  for Used Car Salesmen, and applied each rule diligently and correctly. Even when he came with for the test drive (which, as a rule, I *hate*), it was a pleasant experience. He was still a “salesman”, but let me buy, rather than him sell, if that makes any sense.

So I spent most of last night playing with the sunroof (I picked the worst night to buy a sunroof), experimenting with the windscreen wipers and headlights, and trying to figure out the damn radio.


Baldric’s Tips for Used Car Salesmen June 18, 2009

Posted by baldricman in Baldric-Man, General.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Well about 2 weeks ago the time came, at last, to start looking for a new car. My old faithful Kadett has done me well. Exceptionally well, in fact, but the old gal is getting old, so I think its time to give her a rest, and trade her in for something a little younger.

So I started browsing around at some second hand dealers, and so far the experience has been both exciting, and, unfortunately, extremely frustrating. I won’t make this a rant about the car industry in general (although I really could quite easily). No, for now, I’ll just share some of my favourite quotes from some of the salespeople I have had the, er, pleasure, of dealing with so far.

  • Hyundai salesman, on the towing capabilities of the 2-litre Hyundai Tucson “Well I’m not sure exactly, but that 1-litre Atos prime over there easily pulls a small caravan, no problem, so the Tucson, with an engine double the size, should tow anything” (Holy cow, seriously? You’re telling me that that 1-litre Atos putting out 45kW and 87Nm, and that probably weighs as much as the caravan, can “easily” tow a caravan, of ANY size???)
  • Opel salesman, after I told him my trade-in’s aircon isn’t working: “Wow, thank-you for being honest. I respect that in a man. Just like me. That’s why I’m the most successful salesman here, because I’m honest with my customers” (etc) – I was most thrilled to experience this first hand; a used-car salesman assuring me of his honesty. It was quite special.
  • Nissan salesman laughing when I tell him I only want to spend R120K on a car, at most: “Listen, what you need to do is set yourself a goal, and work really hard to be able to afford a decent car, at around R150K or so. “(etc) – Seriously? Not to sound arrogant or anything, but I most likely earn a lot more than you do buddy, so don’t tell me I need to “set goals” and “work hard”. That’s insulting. More importantly, I could easily be yet another idiot who spends the bulk of his salary on an expensive flashy car. (Just so you know dude, I *could* afford the 350Z, and that’s without any of that residual crap, if I wanted…) But I CHOOSE to only want to spend a certain amount.

I guess I’m just tired, already, of salesman making crazy assumptions about me.

So, as a service to all car salesmen out there, new or used, here are Baldric’s Top Tips for Selling Baldric a Car:

  • Don’t ever, ever make assumptions about my career or earnings, based on the price range I *choose* to look in. You only make a fool of yourself.
  • Don’t ever dare make assumptions about my family priorities (“if you’re worried about your family’s safety, which I’m sure you are, like any good husband, you’ll buy this car”), or about my “green-ness” (“this car is better for the environment”)
  • Please, don’t try convince me that that entry-level Chev Spark over there is quicker than my 2-litre Opel. I’m begging you. It’s sort of embarassing for both of us, don’t you think?
  • Please keep your opinions of how good a car looks to yourself. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and all that. Did you see me walking in with a white cane?
  • Don’t try sell every little aspect of the car as unique to that car. (Just in case you didn’t know, fog-lights, heated side mirrors, climate-control, side-impact bars, adjustable steering columns and folding rear-seats, have actually been around for well over 10 years. My 14-year old Opel has most of that stuff)
  • Put the damn prices on the cars. Its polite. Sometimes I’m in a hurry and just want to know how much something costs, and don’t feel like talking to you about my 10-year family plans and life goals first.
  • Finally, on a similar note, if I ask you what price range car X is going for, just tell me. Don’t spend the next 20 minutes trying to ask me what I want to spend each month. Strange as it may seem to you, MY monthly repayments are actually irrelevant to you. I’m smart enough to have worked out what I can afford beforehand.

Please study these carefully, and check back regularly for updates.


Haynes Owners’ Manual for Apollo 11 June 11, 2009

Posted by baldricman in astronomy, General.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Yup, you read that right. Haynes, that faithful bunch who have been publishing workshop manuals since 1960 or so, on hundreds of makes and models of cars (and other things such as appliances, model railways, and women), have released a commemorative edition Owners’ Workshop Manual, for the Apollo 11 moon lander (amongst other related hardware).


Specifically, it is commemorative of the upcoming 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s famous moon walk. The product blurb from the site:

On 20 July 1969, US astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. This is the story of the Apollo 11 mission and the ‘space hardware’ that made it all possible. This manual looks at the evolution and design of the mighty Saturn V rocket, the Command and Service Modules, and the Lunar Module. It describes the space suits worn by the crew and their special life support and communications systems. We learn about how the Apollo 11 mission was flown – from launch procedures to ‘flying’ the Saturn V and the ‘LEM’, and from moon walking to the earth re-entry procedure.

Isn’t that so cool?

And yes, the moon landing really did take place. Otherwise, how could they publish a manual about it? Huh? Got you now, you annoying little conspiracy theorists! Hah!!

Ag Pleez Deddy June 2, 2009

Posted by baldricman in VOTD.
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Well I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic the past week or so, and also a little guilty for not updating my blog so regularly of late. So here’s a quick post which addresses both, I hope, sufficiently. My dad taught us this song when we (3 boys) were young, and I was delighted to be able to find a reasonable copy on YouYube. Take a listen!

For those of you who may be sensitive in this regard, please note that there is use of the dreaded “N-word”… I normally wouldn’t dream of posting something like that, but I believe everything needs to be taken in context: Firstly, the word is simply the first part of the name of a very popular type of sweet/candy at the time (“Ni****-balls), and to change the name (which has been attempted in many versions of this song) results in a distracting and meaningless line… But more importantly, this song, released in 1961 by the great Jeremy Taylor, is a very simple and innocent jab at the Afrikaaner accent (in English of course), vocabulary, mannerisms, and popular culture, and is rich in subtle reminders of my youth.
So, if you feel it inappropriate, rather don’t listen to the song… but for what it’s worth, I think you’ll be missing out… (oh ja, for more info, check out Jeremy’s website)