Prius, sooner than we thought but better late than never

Prius So the new car is…a Prius!  It was a lot of compromise, and it’s our first new car ever.  I’d only heard about how challenging dealing with car salespeople can be and it didn’t turn out to be totally false–we were practically ushered into a sale every time we took a spin in a vehicle, but when we were finally serious about purchase, the haggling was pretty merciless.  With a combination of Consumer Reports’ Car Guide (overview of reality), the Internet (for details), and some basic shoe-leather (test-driving), I came up with a ballpark figure for several models and packages to go in with and I think we got away with a good deal for what we wanted.

There were a lot of shocking upgrades to cars that I was surprised at, especially in terms of providing a safe ride: built-in Bluetooth connectivity (we could pair our phone with the car mic-system, plus import our phone address book), automated climate-control, airbags all over the place, ABS and other computer controlled guidance systems for load-balancing in bad driving conditions, and digital key locks, plus a programmable button for our garage door opener (no more fat little dongle that costs $100!).  And, as part of our package, a built-in GPS with audio announcement.  Apparently, a lot of features are voice-activated, plus lots of controls are on on the steering wheel, so your eyes are on the road a lot more often.

Our purchase really erred on the side of caution–a great, long lasting vehicle with lots of features to provide a safe ride.  I think we’ll stay together a long time…

Saving the world (or not), one car at a time

Well, it looks like we’ll be getting a car.

I think somewhere in my mind I’ve worn the “I don’t have a car, and I’m saving the planet” badge and now I have to take it off. It seems to flow that environmentalism means not having a four-wheeled vehicle or else you’re contributing to the global environmental problem (though airplane rides contribute more). I’m trying to be positive about it, as much as possible, and also to diversify my methods of reducing my carbon footprint by eating less meat, shopping locally, and bicycling more (not to mention some other ways).

One of the downsides to hybrid cars, which we’re considering, is the lack of choice in models. We love the Honda Fit, though it’s a gas car, for its size and flexibility of inner layout, but would prefer a few more features (and a hybrid engine). Instead, we have the Prius which, to me, seems a bit bulky and, yet, the trimmer hybrids, such as the Civic Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid don’t have the trunk space. If you want any other styles or models (other than a hybrid SUV) good luck. You’d think, after the demand and high ratings, that companies would expand the choices, but it looks to be a few years away (thanks to the introduction of the hydrogen-powered vehicles), if ever. Looks like we’ll have to settle for one of the few choices out there.

Stormy tech

Well, the storm got me. Today, around eight o’clock, power was out in the building meaning no heat, no hot shower, and, gasp, no computer!

Fortunately the XO laptop arrived yesterday! This won’t win any speed awards, and the mini-keyboard practically means learning to type again (two-finger typists will have thier revenge), but this is perfect for emergencies. bonus points for ease of transport, battery life, and sheer durability (weather resistant components) . Huzzah!

I Am Legend: Christian movies in diguise?

i-am-legend-poster.jpgOne thing that I didn’t expect from I Am Legend was its Christian underpinnings. Not to go on a spoiler-bender, but I had to write about this since it seems to have escaped the reviewers (though it does appear here, here, and here)

Like other in-disguise Christian apocalyptic movies (The Matrix, Constantine, etc.), we have a character who seems burdened with seeing the earth through its possible last days being consumed by (soul eating?) demons, determined to finish us all off, and then being confronted with redemption choices of how to cope with his failings.

Though not as apparent as “The One” of The Matrix, Will Smith’s Robert Neville sees himself as sole savior, yet is scientifically devoid of faith. Confronted with a post-apocalyptic earth, he uses his military-induced training in combination with his scientific mind and principals to solve a problem he was part in causing. Here’s the spoiler, so be careful if you read on…

At around 2/3 through, his meeting with Anna brings him into confrontation with his apparent lack of faith–she finds explanation for her hope for the future through “hearing God directly.” Neville seemingly cannot cope with this explanation, rejecting Anna’s hope for finding the rest of human survivors by using odds and calculations to prove her visions wrong and, thus, leaving him to his solitary fate outside of his worldview of a desolate island of Manhattan. As Anna finds her colony, we see a church in the background beyond the gates…lo is the fate of the believer (and the non-believer) spelled out. Yuk.

I can appreciate the shadows-on-the-wall view I have of this; this Christian symbolism is cloaked and soaked (“you’re soaking in it!”) to the point that I might be hallucinating, but coincidences are considerable and the message is clear–faith can take you beyond demons and your own scientific trappings. Faith brings the ability to move forward beyond science’s cold restrictions. But it’s the heavy-handedness that kills me–Smith’s abandonment of hope at the end? the glorious opening of the gates of heaven imagery? the (post-coital?) breakup over a discussion of faith? It drips with subtle Judeo-Christian punishment/reward for the non-faithful. Even a little look into the Bob Marley references (what was that about? I asked and, lo and behold, Marley was a late-comer to being born again). Am I seeing things? I think not…