Sunday, July 17, 2005


A decision has been reached, and a purchase has been made.

From this...

To this...

2005 Honda CR-V SE in Pewter Pearl. The deciding factor over the Mitsubishi Outlander ended up being the lack of a center console, blue-grey color that I really liked, and better resale. We haven't had it long yet, but we're happy so far! It's the first car with "fun" features that I've ever had -- sunroof, leather, CD changer, and heated seats -- not to mention air I doubt the novelty will wear off anytime in the near future.

Now that the car drama is over, I hope to find some time for real postings in the near future. The summer class drama continues though, so posting still may be a bit light for a few weeks. See ya!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Not-So Difficult Choice

There's an interesting article up over at NRO by Alykhan Velshi, a student at the London School of Economics. Velshi has some experience with radical Islamist groups at his university in London. He writes intelligently about the choice facing young Muslims today -- the need for moderate Muslims to "openly repudiate Islamist extremism" in light of the recent attacks on Spain, London, and the United States. It's a good read IMHO, and I recommend checking it out.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Vehicle Run-Down

For those who actually have an interest in such things, Illinifam still hasn't purchased the new vehicle yet. Instead of blogging, I've been spending my few free moments between work and school running around town to dealerships...a few outside of town even. After almost a month of test-driving, it appears we may have narrowed down the field to one car. Or three. It depends on when you ask me. I'm really not good with decisions sometimes, as I like to overanalyze things on occasion.

I think some of my issues are that I see this as my one fun vehicle where I can get some of the features I want before being practical. My parents swear I will want a minivan someday, but I can't see it happening soon. We're hoping to start a family within three years or so though, so I still have to keep safety ratings and carseats and the like in mind. I don't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money, but this is the one vehicle I kind of get to choose for I should like it right? Also, I like boxy cars and wanted something that sits higher off the ground, so that eliminated a few well-recommended choices like the Santa Fe and Malibu Maxx. All that being said, here are my thoughts on some of the vehicles we've driven.

Pontiac Vibe -- I have always liked the design of this vehicle, and it's what I thought I was going to buy. It drove fairly nicely and had a decent amount of pep, but it just ended up being way too small for my husband.

Mazda 6 wagon -- Nice little wagon but the hubby kept hitting his head at every bump. I kind of liked it though. Definitely had that Mazda zoom zoom factor. I think I'm more a station wagon person than a minivan somehow.

Mazda Tribute -- Solid smallish utility vehicle with a peppy engine. I really liked it on first drive, but Illinihubby wasn't comfortable in the back and thought the road noise was pretty loud.

Chevy Equinox -- I like how these look from the outside (and I like GM's employee pricing approach), so we drove one. It handles pretty nicely, kind of felt like a minivan ride, but the inside fit and finish seemed subpar.

Subaru Forester -- This handled the best of perhaps everything we drove, but we just didn't love the styling/design and the price for the options (such as several thousand extra for leather with LLBean stamped all over it).

Toyota Highlander-- Second runner-up? Honestly, we would have bought one of these by now if it wasn't quite so pricey. You could almost buy its Lexus RX330 sibling for what they are asking for a sunroof or leather. Really nice vehicle, good handling, good gas mileage for a 6-cylinder, but they seemed to be asking a terrible lot even a two-year old used model. Sharp Bluestone Metallic color though.

Mitsubishi Outlander LTD -- A strong second. I really like the exterior styling, and the engine and ride were impressive for a four-cylinder. My dad was riding with and couldn't tell it wasn't a six. Between this and the smart new Eclipse design, Mitsubishi seems like it may be turning things around. Alas, the cargo hold is a bit smaller, and while we'd be paying significantly less the resale value is still a bit disheartening.

Honda CR-V SE -- It wasn't even on our original list, but we stopped by the dealership two weekends ago just to check out all our options...and it's now the leader. Nice storage and ergonomics and a thoughtful design; no center console so one of us can someday reach the backseat if necessary to take care of (presently theoretical) kids. It has the leather and sunroof I wanted, decent price, great resale value if we need to trade soon, and a nice blue/grey color.

So that's where we stand right now. A vehicle that wasn't even on my original list of choices may prove to be the best fit for us. Now it's just down to making a definitive choice and the nitty gritty negotiations. Internet quotes are already proving to be quite helpful. I'd highly recommend them if you have to embark on this task anytime soon. I appreciate all the thoughts and discussion on the topic lately and hope to talk about something different soon!
Waiting for Dennis's Leftovers

You know you must be in the middle of a drought when you go to work on Monday and main source of excitement is that it's going to rain all week! We're awaiting the remnants of Hurricane Dennis here as I speak. The sky is a steely gray and looks quite promising, but no rain has started to fall from it yet. There are flood warnings out in Southern Illinois this evening, and my parents said there was quite a downpour as they drove through the Mt. Vernon area this afternoon.

My heart goes out to the people on the Gulf Coast who had to face this again just nine months after Hurricane Ivan...but every cloud has a silver lining, especially for the farmers here in Central Illinois this evening. Other than the Fourth of July, it's been an incredibly dry few weeks here in the heartland of Central Illinois. I know of more than one farmer that will be mighty glad to see this rain.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Independence Day

Just touching base after a nice relaxing Fourth of July weekend here in Central Illinois. One of my classes for this summer finished at the end of last week, so I had a nice relaxing 4-day break to take care of everything I've been neglecting the past month or so: serious cleaning of the house, visiting with the family, spending time with Illinihubby when he came home from a business trip.

Anyways, things that did not get done: e-mail, blogging, buying a car. All of which really need to have action taken on them soon. For the Fourth though, spending time with family and friends and reflecting on what freedom and independence really mean to made for a good weekend. Hope your holiday was lovely as well.

Hope to be around in the next couple weeks though. O'Connor's resignation and the replacement process should make for some interesting analysis in weeks to come.