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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Traveling sales ponies nonpareil

I encourage all to find online the "My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic" (sugar crystallizes in my very veins to write that) episode about the Flim Flam Brothers.


Here is The Song:

There, now that you are back from dealing with your Pony-induced diabeetus, there is a reason for this display (beyond my desire to share an astoundingly complex song from a kid's cartoon). "Traveling sales ponies nonpareil". WHAT A LYRIC!

Riatsila is car shopping. I offered to shoot him in the head to put him out of his misery, but no, no- he had to do this. He found the Car of His Dreams online, in his Scotsman's price range, and called the dealership in Murfreesboro, TN to haggle a bit, and to let them know of his interest. He told them we would drive up (90 minutes) to look at it and make the cash purchase if it checked out (ran a CarFax,,,it was sweet). We drove up, and had a pleasant trip, tingling with anticipation, both knowing how Chris Matthews felt in '08.

We got up there, found the company: Sp**dw*y Auto Sales. I maneuvered into the packed car lot, and Riat went to make his honorable intentions known. The portly...no, that's not right. "Portly" suggests London Bankers in their Club, waiting to hear news of Fogg's Journey. The fat florid-faced salesman looked confused, then went into the office to announce what car we were looking for. S*eed*ay is not a large lot, so this seemed odd. The office was filled with many fat, red-faced middle-Tennessee purveyors of automotive excellence, and one in the corner said that in checking it that afternoon, they found that the engine was about to blow. It couldna' take it any morrrre. One seated chunk of humanity said that it would be sold "AS IS", indicating their piety in preventing Riat's driving off in a junker. From the depths of the office came the info that a new engine would cost $2000.  Another worthy burbled summat about trouble at "bottom of the engine". Another standee asked if we were looking for a cash sale, and offered that the closest to our amount was a Mercedes wagon for double what Riatsila wished to pay. Someone else muttered about taking the car off their website.

I muttered "Sweet."and we turned to take our leave of Spe*dwa* Auto Sales, 103 SE Broad St., Murfreesboro, TN. We were glum on the 90 minute drive home.

Now, I can fathom that they were in fact saving us from a purchase vile, and that their faces shone brightly that night as they returned home to hearth and family, warm in the knowledge of a Day Well Spent. I can. I should, but the atmosphere of the place when we walked in smelt of "scam", and the way everyone piled on with little details said "disingenuous", and the way they did NOT show us the car, and instead offered an alternative auto at twice the price said "bait-and-switch". So we will watch to see if the car comes down.  If it does not, well, there is always the Better Business Bureau, and the State Attorney General.

Used car salesmen nonpareil.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hello, Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea.

I was at AnachroCon this weekend (I bet "AnarchoCon" would have been funnerer. Ha...Blogger didn't like "funnerer" for some  reason.), a fourth-year steampunk convention. Steampunk...what you get when goths discover brown. A con that Phileas Fogg would run.

It was a fun romp, despite being away from home on my birthday. Yes, I have dodged El Reapo for another year. (While typing, I comically transposed a couple of letters of "Reapo", and the Dread Dormomoo agreed that it was good to have dodged him as well.)  However, I did have a delightful meal Saturday night, paid for by a lovely and talented young lady author, Kimberly Richardson. Yes, I know...I HAVE A SWEET LIFE!!!  (Lest misunderstandings arise,  we were chaperoned by her other, Allan Gilbreath, whose business I am courting, and by the artist Mark Helwig. Go see his stuff.) We ate at The Mad Italian in Chamblee, whose food is far better than their website. Friday night Mark asked if I wanted to try the restaurant. We had calzones, and tried a local brew whose name I cannot recall (no, that's  not why...) I had the fresh spinach calzone with pepperoni, and it was so good I immediately ordered a second to put in my cooler. I ate it cold for breakfast the next morning, It was amazing even cold. Well, Mark and I both evangelized about it the next day, and so our foursome wound up there Saturday night after the dealers room closed.  Uber-noms. OK, when the check came, both Kimberly and Allan pounced on it, and Kimberly won. What a sweetheart!

The food was not the only thing, oh, no. The conversation was hilarious, sparkling, and would have flown on Jack Paar. One thing I learned is that Italy has bowed the knee to the Great Old Ones, and looks forward to the return of Cthulhu, and the rise of R'lyeh.

Also, they like soccer.

The con was fun, with lovely Victorian-tech costuming. Our sales were up 25% from last year's, which means we did half-to-one-third what a similar anime con would gross, Such is the way of con-dom. SF-type cons are not the venue for us, sales-wise, but the networking opportunities are excellent. Anime is where the fan dollar is.

AnachroCon has an edge over anime cons, however. Being a small Southron SF con, their hospitality cannot be beaten, in both the comestible and potable categories. The con was (by my lights) drama-free, although because of the size of the venue, they had to have two dealers rooms, which they justified by having the smaller room be for "Artisans", them wot makes their own stuff.

Con organizers: NEVER have two dealers rooms. Being in the Other room is generally death. I've been a huckster for thiry-two years, now, so i say with some authority: One dealer room only, please.

Hey, Michael...can you stand a weekend with this?