The Big Think

June 25, 2004

48 Hour Film Project

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 5:24 pm

I got a call yesterday to be the audio mixer/post production audio guy for one of the Austin 48-Hour Film Project films! It’s a yearly contest where small teams get together to make a film in 48 hours. The teams are given a style (sci-fi/horror/romance/comedy), a line (“I have a bad feeling about this”), and a prop (a golfball, etc). The teams then have 48 hours to write, shoot, edit, post, score, and finalize the 4-8 minute film for a contest on Sunday night. I’ve wanted to do it since I heard about it a few years ago. Looks like it’ll be fun and I won’t be getting much sleep until Sunday! I start tomorrow morning at 10 am on the “set”-wherever that is- and then do post on Sunday.
(also posted over on moviehead)

How Good is a Maytag?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:12 pm

This Consumer Reports graph shows that the Maytag repairman isn’t as lonely as we’ve been told.

SpaceShipWonderful

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:29 am

via techcentralstation:So while I congratulate Burt Rutan and Paul Allen on their achievement I’m also remembering the advice of Frederic Bastiat to economists: always look for the hidden. What is important about Spaceship One is not that a private organization has done it once, but that now that it has been done once free markets will continue to make it better, faster, cheaper and someone, one amongst our fellow humans, will work out what to actually do with it, in a manner that none of us today has any inkling of. That’s why free markets are important, that’s why the first private space trip is important and that’s why Paul Allen has done a great deal more than fund a rich man’s toy. read the whole article here.

Fascist

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:24 am

via instapundit: I think that [Al Gore’s] style of argument (like the Moore style of documentary) appeals to people who are already committed to your side and makes other people not want to listen to you at all. People interested in rational arguments will choose not to engage with you… What I think is interesting is that if you call actual fascist dictators like Saddam Hussein fascist, you’re regarded as over-the-top by some of the same people who don’t mind using such terms to describe their own fellow citizens who simply disagree with them.

Car Shopping

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:05 am

Bleah. Second day of car shopping. Salesmen all treat you like you’re either an idiot and don’t realize they are charging more than $3000 over sticker/blue book value, or they act all offended and indignant that you did your research. When I pointed out the other day that their price was waaaay over invoice price, the salesman said “yeah, you can get all sorts of bad information on the internet”. He quickly changed the subject when I told him my information source was the online NADA bluebook and edmunds.com. Hey, it’s called the internet, y’know? Ever heard of it? It gives customers a bargaining tool.
Met the prototypical salesman today; smarmy, loud and obnoxious. They kind of guy who kept using our names in every other sentence [why do they think that’s okay?] All he was missing was the gold tie and the tendency to point at you when he talked about this “cream puff” of a car.

Ick. We kind of had fun with it, though: we knew that, no matter how hard the salesman worked or how much he tried to talk us into his office, we weren’t buying today.
This book details how to be a smart car buyer. Rule #1 is do your homework. Car salesmen absolutely hate to see someone come into their dealership with a binder full of notes. We’ve stuffed ours full of contact info, notes, prices, other dealers, etc. Lots of hilighted text in case the salesman slips a look at it. We can quickly look up the actual price of a car, street price, retail vs. private seller, and invoice price. Need to add current rebates and current dealer holdbacks. I occasionally pulled the notebook out and pointed to something in it today when the salesmen started to get especially pushy. Erin would just look at whatever I was pointing at and nod silently. Heh, psychological warfare- I thought the salesman’s head would burst! Rule #2 is control the situation: No matter what a salesman says or does, DON’T go into his office (the lion’s den). I found it quite funny to watch the salesman get 20 steps away and turn around only to see us wandering around looking at other cars. I could tell he was frustrated that we couldn’t be talked into “deal mode” within our first five minutes. The tendency when someone says “follow me” is to follow, and suddenly you find yourself being handled. I hate being handled. As a car buyer, you need to make it clear that you are in charge, it’s your checkbook, and you won’t be going anywhere until you’re good and ready thankyouverymuch. I think I’ll just wander around out here on the lot a few steps from my car ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

It was amazing the attitude change that took place after a few attempts to get us into the den. The salesman got a little pushier and tried to convince me that my information about the competition was wrong- even to the point of telling me that the competition lies outright. He even interrupted me several times when I asked for clarification on Toyota’s 10 year powertrain warranty. Then he brought his very meek and polite counterpart salesman over to work us (see “good cop-bad cop“). It would have been quite funny to witness if it hadn’t been such a sad illustration of just why people hate the car buying process and don’t trust salesmen.

We’re treating these first few visits as a desensitization period. We’re getting a feel for which dealerships sticker more, who has the pushiest sales reps, and who tries to pull fast ones. Even met a man and his college grad daughter out to buy a similar car to ours. We traded business cards and will keep up with each other via emails on good deals. Talked a bit about getting a “package” discount if we buy 2 cars at the same time. Hey, it’s worth looking into.
But for now we’ll just get used to the whole salesman vibe by visiting a bunch of dealerships within about 50 miles and getting used to being polite to the smarmy salespeople.

In the meantime, go here for a fantastic look at car salesmen from the inside. Why- seriously, why- would any normal person want to do this for a living?

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