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I'm Sayin'??
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
A trio of reviews: A car, a book, and a van.
I've got a trio of reviews here, folkz. Bear with me.

So, more about my holidays.

I spend XMas in Augusta, GA, and then came back to Atlanta for a couple of days. Then my wife and I drove to Hilton Head Island, in South Carolina for a day or two. I haven't shared with you that the Cadillac was rear ended the day after Thanksgiving, because I'm too traumatized, but suffice it to say that I no longer have access to my trunk, so we decided to rent a car. Hence, the first review:

The Saturn Ion

Excuse my language, family, but this P.O.S. is truly a shitty car.

First of all, the gauge cluster is located in the center of the dashboard, and angled towards the driver. In the space usually occupied by the gauges is...let me think...oh, I remember...NOT A DAMN THING.

The result is that when you first start driving the car, the car painfully beats it into your head (every time you try to check your speed), that the speedo is not where it should be. It's really annoying. The second result of this is that in front of the driver there's just this vast expanse of empty space. It makes for a more open feeling I suppose, but it feels like you're just operating a steering wheel that's not attached to anything. When the speedometer is right in front you, you get some sort of immediate feedback when you do something as the driver. That's not the case with this car. It just sucks.

Second, the door locks. I can accept that the car locks the doors when I shift into drive. It's for my safety. I just don't understand why the doors are not unlocked when I put it back in Park. So every time you get ready to get out of the car you have to hit that ill-placed button.

Third, the handling. The handling sucks. Every time I adjusted the wheel a little bit, the car swerved like I was trying to avoid the largest, widest, deepest pothole in history.

Fourth, the doors - they just don't close surely and securely. I'd slam the door, and then see and hear it shift back. You know how it still sticks out a bit when you don't close it securely enough, and it just barely latches? Just like that. I just had to conclude that it was cosed and locked, and that nobody in drive away with the thing while we were away. (You know how rampant crime is in Hilton Head.)

Just a really shitty car.

Book Review: Ghosts of St. Michel by Jake Lamar

While in HHI, I finished this book that I picked up during my recent rip to LA.

I really wanted to like this book, because I've read a few of this author's other works, but I just didn't.

This is the impression I got about this mystery: I imagine that a good author always keeps a notebook handy, to write down ideas when they come. It felt like the author had a lot of little stuff in his journal that he wanted to use. Plot points, prose snippets, and just random ideas.

The book at it's core is about a bi-racial family living in Paris, France. The mother, Marva, is Black, and from NYC. The father, Loic, is French. They have a relatively grown daughter, Naima. 21-ish. She has moved back to the States and is embracing the US, much to the chagrin of her parents. Short version of the plot is: Marva has an affair with one of her employees, and when Loic finds out, he kinda slaps and gets sui/homicidal.

So, back to my Journal theory: There are good facets to the book, and some good snippets, but the spine of the book, the plot, plods along in a futile search for suspense. Take Marva. She opened an extremely successful soul food restaurant in Paris. Naima: She was named after a John Coltrane song, and he has this great passage describing the walk and facial expression she adopts as she walks down the street in NYC. Like I said. Good supporting ideas in need of a good plot to support.

He gives a couple of subplots to make the book more interesting, but he wraps them with too-little explanation, or he just abandons them altogether.

I give this book a solid C.

The Chevrolet Uplander

I was pleasantly surprised by this minivan's competence on the road. It had sufficient power to merge and pass, and I found it decently comfortable.

My issues are with usability. First of all, the cigarette adapter outlet was at the bottom of the center stack. In a minivan, this ends up being on the floor, and pretty far from the driver. Second, maybe since this was a rental, the center console for the rear seats was missing, so there were no cupholders. I thought a measured metric for minivans was the cupholder count, but this thing just had 2! How useful is that?

I think that's about it for now. I'm gonna try to sleep.

Know what I'm Sayin'??
Anonymous Anonymous said...
And GM can't figure out why their market share is tumbling. The Saturn Ion actually looks half decent from the outside .. the price is right ... but the dashboard is a deal breaker.

What a ludicrous design.

How on earth did something like that make it to production? It's just wrong. Horribly wrong.