Sunday, June 29, 2008

My tomato plant is PMSing...

I got a tomato plant from the farmers' market a few weeks ago. It shot up like a weed, got a bunch of blooms, and now it's got little green bulbs on three of the blooms. They're not actually tomatoes yet, they're swollen ovaries. Yeesh. Sounds like something out of 7th grade health class.

But this is so much better:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I find guilt in the most ridiculous places

Due to unexpected popular demand, here is a generic picture of the car I got (picture stolen from

Except my sister-in-law (who had the car before me) had all the windows tinted, so be sure to keep that in mind. That's the paint color I have, though.

No road trips yet (gas is $4.25 for fuck's sake), though I did take it out for my favorite drive on Sunday night:

Down the highway to Lower Wacker Drive (an underground thoroughfare that has changed quite a bit since it was featured in the big chase scene in "Blues Brothers"), over to Lake Shore Drive (where I get smacked in the face with a stunning view of the lake), up to a kind of up-scale neighborhood, around a waste of space called the Nature Museum ("Here are the types of grass you'll find in Illinois" and they don't mean the fun kind), then racing back down again. There are few things in the world that calm me down as much as that drive does.

My old car, Dox, would die when he was idling so I'd sit at red lights with my foot on the gas. I still find myself doing that. Also, if I found myself driving a nice car in the past 5 years or so, it was a car that I had borrowed that had automatic transmission. Dox was a stick, and so is the Kia (tentatively named Trixie), but I forget that I'm driving a stick with Trixie and sometimes find myself going 35 in second gear.

I'm having to re-learn how to drive stick. Trixie has four working speakers and no broken engine parts, and no dial on the dashboard telling me my current RPMs, so I have to really pay attention to know when to switch gears. Also, Dox's transmission was in such poor shape that I could switch gears with just one finger. Trixie has a good transmission, so I have to actually have my hand free to switch gears.

Trixie doesn't have power steering, so every time I turn I say to myself, "Gun show. GUN SHOW!" trying to really put some muscle in it so I have something to bring to the (you guessed it) gun show.

Trixie is clean, doesn't smell funny, has no rust or dents, has four working doors and five working seat belts, a fancy flip-down stereo, gets a modest 26 miles to the gallon (Dox got 9...that's not a typo, he got nine), and doesn't reek of gas for ten minutes after you kill the engine. There is no cause for embarrassment when I drive her, and people at the bus stop no longer look in my direction with hope and then disappointment after realizing it's not their bus, it's just Dox's muffler. In every way (except air conditioning) she is a vast improvement.

But in my heart of hearts, I miss Dox every damn day. If I didn't have an audience around me when they put him on the junk yard's tow truck, I honestly would have been in tears. He was my trusty steed through some of the most amazing and scary years of my life, and I loved him like an old friend.

Even when he was broken down, even when his expired tags got me arrested, I still loved that car. There have been very few times in my life that I have felt like a completely unredeemable asshole, and selling him to the junk yard for $150 is definitely in the top 5.

The guy who put him on the flat bed didn't understand that his brakes didn't work and that he'd have to pull Dox up the ramp with the chain. When he realized it and brought Dox back down the the street, he scraped Dox's muffler. I wanted to punch him.