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Test drove a few cars at the weekend. Our choice is now between Prius v and Mazda5.

more car notes

(ruled out RAV4 and Mazda CX-5)

Prius v vs. Mazda5

Price/cost -
Pv ~ $27k, M5 ~ $20k
but fuel savings catch up in ~ 8-9 years (assumes 12k miles per year, current fuel price) (…that's quite a long time…)

Edmunds TCO is about the same for both (5 year cost of ownership) but mainly due to higher fuel costs for M5 - we don't think we will do as much as 15k miles per year so that would be less

Driving -
M5 felt a little more responsive. Noticed wind noise on highway.

I prefer the digital speedo in Pv but maybe just because that's what I'm used to now.

M5 auto also has the pseudo-manual gear change, but didn't try it out. Pv has a couple of buttons for choosing Power/Eco/EV modes but also didn't try those - they seemed to be in a pretty bad place to reach while driving though.

theora mentioned the speedo being cut off by steering wheel but I forgot in which car.

Seating/space -
For normal 'around town' use, not a lot of difference. (4 passengers, good cargo space)

For trips to Maine, where do cats go? theora thinks 2 car seats + cat carrier in 2nd row in Pv but I don't think they would fit. I think there is room in the back in either car.

For trips with visitors, M5 can clearly fit 2 extra people (as long as we adjust all seats up a bit). Pv _might_ be able to fit 1 extra person alongside car seats in 2nd row but I am skeptical. (OTOH we could just take two cars). Are we going to need this often?

M5 with 6 people in will not fit much luggage. Roof rack and box would be ~ $800

Pv may be slightly wider inside trunk. Having trouble finding helpful measurements.

Other features -
M5 sliding doors can be helpful.

Audio etc. -
(These are not really a priority)
Pv has standard iPod USB connectivity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EttWu7ZYdZU
M5 just has an aux audio jack (like our current vehicle)
Pv has bluetooth phone connectivity as standard, but we still don't think we should be talking on phone while driving… and other similar distractions.
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So we've pretty much decided we need a second car. These are my notes.

- new baby + toddler going to preschool will make schedule more complicated
- threats of cutting our nearest bus service
- (maybe) want to accommodate visitors as well as 2 children and sometimes cats

- Prius - happy with it

preferred features
- good gas mileage
- normal car size
- hatchback or wagon format

regular use
- E commute to work (maybe +1 passenger)
- C drop off child(ren)
- local errands + shops (1 - all)
- visit local attractions (2 - all)
- all go to Maine (+ cats)

irregular use
(consider rental when needed instead)
- pick up bulky items
- visitors with no car (i.e. my parents) or prefer to go in one car
- longer road trips

shortlist + comments
- Toyota Prius (or plug-in?)
We like our current one, and we're not going to find something with better mileage. For more people/space, we'd need to take two cars.

Definitely a tight squeeze for trips to Maine (2 adults, 2 cats, 2 children + stuff).

- Toyota Prius V
We like our current Prius - assume this is similar but adds a bit of space. Actually has the same engine/drivetrain in a slightly larger vehicle so might seem more underpowered.

- Mazda 5
Flexible seating could help with visitors, while still 'car' sized. Some restrictions on child seat placement though.

Heard concerns re: handling in snow.

- Honda Odyssey
If we really need space for more people. However, much larger vehicle than we really want to drive, along with more expensive and worse mileage.


Jan. 18th, 2012 11:20 am
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I wrote something like this to my rep and senators:
I am writing to express my opposition to the SOPA and PIPA bills. I urge you to vote against this legislation.

SOPA and PIPA contain several provisions which are in complete disagreement with American principles of freedom and openness. It will also damage America's leadership in the technical industry.

- There will be no proof or legal process required for copyright holders to demand that content is taken down - even in cases where a court may decide it was protected free speech.
- Websites which share user-driven content will be burdened with policing that content for banned details.
- Small startup companies have been able to build business on the web and reach global audiences, but with this law they will be discouraged by the cost of needing legal counsel.

We already have laws to deal with copyright infringement, in the DMCA - and even those have already been abused to try and take down content which is protected free speech, or to take down content where the complainant is not actually the copyright holder.


Nov. 10th, 2011 12:58 pm
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What's with all the emails I see these days with
Sent from my XYZPhone
at the end? Do I really need to know what particular device you are using to write on?
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Dear Lazyweb,
Looking for a DVD player which can play both Region 1 and Region 2 discs - any suggestions?


Jan. 27th, 2011 10:51 am
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Pronouns are tricky things.

And that is why my daughter on seeing a picture of herself will point and say, "you!".
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[personal profile] theora (to me): Would you like some coffee?
$daughter: Daddy cof? Daddy cof?
Me: Yes please!
$daughter: yes plee! yes plee! yes plee!
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At dinner, daughter asks for water,
I bring her water in an open cup, and offer it to her,
"no no"
"You just asked for water, don't you want it now?"
"You want a hat?"
At which point we realise she wants the sippy lid for the cup. It's a hat for the cup! Sure enough, we put the lid on and she takes the cup and drinks happily.

p.s. Now when I fart, daughter says, "far!" and laughs. Hooray.
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I've been considering setting up a feed of my Twitter posts into DW/LJ, since I write marginally more on there than here. OTOH I used not to like it very much when other people did the same thing so maybe you'd find it annoying too. Do you think it would be worthwhile?

No, I'm not going to put my Twitter details in for LJ to do pingbacks. If/when I choose a system to do it, I'll check it out for privacy concerns, or maybe run something on my own server.
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We've just launched a new 'members only' hotel deals site. Go here to join up. The first deals will be available on Sept 20.
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I repeated a previous mistake today :-(

I wrote an email like:
I want to do X. Does that sound reasonable?

Later I had to send a followup stating what the initial email should have said:
I'm going to do X at 2pm unless I hear any objections.

There, much better.
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[personal profile] theora and [personal profile] jaq 5 years ♥
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(and a Lib Dem supporter) I think it's better to see some Liberal policies and influence in a compromise government, than no Liberal policies and influence in a Conservative or Labour majority or minority government.

Maybe more comment on policies if I have time later.
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Ever since I was old enough to have a vague understanding of the political system in Britain, I wished there would be a hung parliament, which would result in bringing in proportional representation in order to make a coalition deal with the Lib Dems.

What we have now has not turned out to be quite what I wished for. The main stumbling block is that the combination of Labour and Lib Dem seats does not add up to enough to make a majority. Even a so called 'Rainbow Alliance' would control a dangerously slim majority, and may result in concessions to Scottish and Welsh nationalists that we can ill afford. Clearly this is why Labour have made the more attractive offer to the Lib Dems.

The Conservative offer grudgingly includes a referendum on 'Alternative Vote' - but the Conservatives have been open about the expectation that they would oppose it. And anyway, AV is not proportional representation. It creates some more appearance of fairness, and might actually benefit the Lib Dems in some places, but it doesn't create a situation where small parties can gain seats.

So maybe we'll end up with a referendum where the people who really want proportional representation have to vote against AV, and the Conservatives will be able to point and say "look, we offered reform, and you didn't want it." I'm not sure how I would vote.

See, I knew the election was going to be disappointing.


May. 6th, 2010 10:10 am
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My dad proxy voted for me (since I am on a different continent). Apparently the officers had to look up the registration rules. What fun.

job seekers

May. 4th, 2010 04:17 pm
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Forgive me for being naïve. I hear politicians saying they'll stop 'the dole' for people who repeatedly refuse to take jobs which are offered to them.

Do people repeatedly refuse to take jobs which are offered to them?
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I have an iPod and a PC. When I connect the former to the latter, I would like it to automatically copy over the most recent podcast(s) from a certain directory on the PC, onto the iPod. This should not require any user interaction after plugging in the iPod.

The PC is running Ubuntu 9.10, and gtkpod works with the iPod - but I'm tired of opening a file browser and dragging files over every time.

Any suggestions?
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US vs. UK creme eggs
US vs. UK creme eggs.

We brought home some British creme eggs from our trip, and also bought some US ones after we got back.
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We got started on this season's planting.

Still need to make some fences to keep the woodchuck and rabbits out :-/


Mar. 8th, 2010 12:15 pm
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Suddenly we have some Spring-like weather, so we managed to do some gardening tasks at the weekend. We pruned some shrubs. We also got to use our own compost for the first time - we topped up both our raised beds with compost from the finished container, and then reorganised the 'in progress' compost back into that container. I amused myself by converting a broken box fan into a compost-screening box.

Also did a couple of shopping runs - toys and other supplies for $babygirl to have on the plane, and a bunch of stuff from Home Depot for a few projects like baby-proofing the house. One day maybe we'll find time to do the actual work :-/
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At lunch today there were hot dogs, baked potatoes, and chili. There was a table with lots of different toppings on. I had a little panic because I didn't know which toppings were meant to go with which item, so I didn't get any. (Though I managed to put some mustard on my hot dog).

In hindsight I could have just combined the foods however I liked, but never mind.

I'm a bit put off because I had a filling this morning and my mouth feels funny.


Nov. 10th, 2009 08:11 am
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I seem to have become a regular library user again for the first time since I was in my teens. I joined the local library a few months ago and have been several times.

Looking back, I went through a 'single young professional' phase where I just bought any books I wanted to read, and it seems kind of silly in retrospect. When I moved over here I got rid of maybe half of the books I had, mostly by giving them away.

I can't say my taste in reading has improved though :-) I've been working my way through some Cherryh, Heinlein, Bernard Cornwell's Saxon stories* and Simon Scarrow.

*Anyone else noticed he seems to be repeating his Arthur series at times? Though Uhtred is somewhat less likeable than Derfel.
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(the one that isn't [personal profile] theora)

Photo by my mum.


Aug. 20th, 2009 07:49 am
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I had a dream where someone complimented me on my hair.


Jun. 22nd, 2009 10:15 am
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Yesterday was my second anniversary of being a US resident. In another year I can apply for naturalization (actually I can send in the forms 90 days ahead). I have a timeline on my whiteboard at work, which I mark off once a month.

In a perverse way I feel slightly annoyed that my child is going to beat me to being a dual national.

Despite it not feeling like that long, we've moved house twice (three times if you count the move over here). Glad we don't have to do that again for a while.
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The Tube strikes might be more convincing if they didn't do them without fail every summer.
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Oh noes! We mustn't have proportional representation: we might end up electing a Green candidate, and we don't want bloody hippies* speaking in our parliament.

*Get your hair cut.
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So far, I have signed up in order to reserve my name. Maybe, I will post more at some point.