Sunday, February 26, 2012


As I mentioned in a previous post, I was not quite done with my recent spending spree, and my new purchases have increased by an order of magnitude. Back in December, I bought a new pair of running shoes which were in the $100 range. Later that month, I bought a mattress and box springs set that was around $1,000. My next purchase would be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

I have been searching for several months for a car to replace my 1998 Honda Accord EX coupe. The Accord was a great car, but it had racked up over 180,000 miles on the odometer. Plus, it had a few issues. The paint has large oxidization spots on the roof and rear deck lid. Actually, there might have been more paint missing than remaining. Also, the transmission had started slipping. Finally, the last time I took the car to local shop for an oil change, I was told that it was time for new tires. The car was getting close to the too-unsafe-to-drive zone. I knew it was time to get a different car.

Here is a humorous story about my old car. On New Year's Day, I was a bit hung over. Around lunchtime, I ventured out to find some food. I was running short on fuel, so I stopped by a gas station. I popped open the gas door and starting turning the gas cap, but nothing happened. I vaguely remembered the cap not clicking when I tightened it the last time I filled the tank. Now, the cap was spinning freely, but not coming off.

I called my local garage which was also the place that told me the Honda needed new tires. Lucky for me, they were open on New Year's. The guy that answered the phone told me that they did not carry gas caps, but if I could find one and bring it by they should be able to help me. I swung by a nearby auto parts store and bought a gas cap. I proceeded to garage. One of the mechanics was able to pop off the old gas cap with a big-ass pair of pliers. The cap actually broke off, but once the outside part was removed, the inside part could simply be unscrewed. After putting on the new cap, I was able to make it to the gas station to fill the tank.

Getting back to my car shopping, I had been searching for the right car for several months. I visited several local car dealerships including multiple visits to the local Carmax and Auction Direct locations. After months of research and driving tons of cars, I decided that an Infiniti G37 convertible was the car for me. My nonexistent readers who also follow me on Twitter would know that I was close to purchasing an Infiniti near the end of December. I have a buddy that works at a local used car dealership. He found a white G37 convertible in Alabama. I stopped by the dealership where he works one evening to complete the transaction. I filled out the paperwork and even wrote a check for a deposit. Unfortunately, we learned that the dealer down in Alabama had sold the car around noon the same day.

The search continued. I had previously test drove a G37 convertible at a local Chrysler Jeep dealership. The story was that a couple had traded in the convertible for a Jeep Grand Cherokee. That car was dented and scratched, so I passed on it. The salesman said he would give me a call if another one appeared at their dealership, but I doubted that I would be back. To my surprise, I received a call from that salesman a few weeks later. It turned out they had recently received another G37 convertible. It had also been traded for a Grand Cherokee. I do hope that is not an omen for my future car purchase prospects.

I stopped by the Chrysler Jeep dealership the following weekend. This G37 turned out to be an exact duplicate of the previous car minus the dents and scratches. It was a cold and rainy day (I ended up with a cold the following week.), so I did not get to drop the roof. However, the car looked to be in great condition and drove fantastically. After my long and frustrating search, I was ready to buy. The negotiations took longer than I expected with several back and forth offers between me and various salesmen and sales managers. Eventually, we were able to settle on a price for the Infiniti plus a trade-in value for the Accord. I drove the convertible home that same day.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

An African Beer

It has been almost two months since I published a post. It has been even longer since I posted on the topic of beer with the exception of the Beer List at the end of 2011. My regular imaginary readers may have noticed a new link at the top left of the home page to "Jim's Beer List." On that page, I combined the beer lists from 2011 and 2010 into a single list. Instead of having a running beer list specifically for the year 2012, I have just been adding beers that I have consumed in 2012 to the list on that page.

One of the new additions to my super-sized beer list is Ndovu Special Malt Premium Lager from Tanzania Breweries which is a subsidiary of the giant global brewing conglomerate SABMiller. One of my coworkers is originally from Tanzania, and he brought back some cans of Ndovu with him from a recent visit to share with us.

My coworker told me that the word "ndovu" means "tusk" in Swahili. Google Translate tells me that the word means "elephant" however, and that "tusk" translates to "pembe" in Swahili. My coworker also told me that a very similar brew called Tusker is sold in Kenya. Tusker is produced by East Africa Breweries which is related to Tanzania Breweries. As far as Ndovu goes, I expected the beer to be a standard run-of-the-mill lager. While my expectation was not too far off the mark, I would say the taste was slightly better than the average piss beer.

While I hope to continue posting about beer, I have transitioned somewhat to drinking more wine. Recent posts to my Twitter account have reflected this change. Perhaps there will be some posts on wine in the future.