Friday, 24 October 2008

Parking lot follies

As I was walking back to my car after leaving the bookstore, I had to walk past a gold Camry attempting to pull out of a parking spot. My first concern, as it is upon seeing any Camry in motion was for my own personal safety. I detoured and took the long way around to make sure I would not be backed over. It was dark and rainy, and even under the best conditions Camries have a way of unintended contact with cars, rocks, posts and pedestrians.
So I really think that the car would have, even with my detour, backed inot/over me, if not for the intervention of a curb. The driver was in the last parking spot in a row, and had a CR-V on his left, and curbing on his right. As he attempted to back out and to the left towards me, his wheel impacted the curb unexpectedly. So he stopped, look around curiously and pulled back into the spot. Then he got his bearings and took another shot at it, this time heading straight across the aisle and for the Volvo. Fortunately he turned just in time, and missed it. He put the car in Drive and headed off into the rainy darkness to make his impact felt elsewhere on the roads of Madison.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

A typical Camry kind of guy

I have a colleague at work about whom I've got a pretty low opinion. He's a small, twerpy kind of guy, in his mid-30s, who shows up between 9:30 and 10:30 every day, and usually leaves by three in the afternoon to "beat traffic". He says he's working from home, but he's never in the office when I call his cell phone, and the small amount of work he actually gets done backs up the idea that he isn't actually working. He's the kind of guy who is much better at making excuses than making progress. He lives in east Vancouver rather than in Portland. All of that being said, you can totally picture the kind of under-achieving guy I'm talking about.

He and his wife recently got rid of their minivan (they are childless) and bought a new Camry, because his wife didn't l ike driving the minivan. Less than a month after buying the new transportation appliance, she left him, taking his paid-off Pathfinder and leaving him with the Camry and its monthly payment. (She also took his "beloved" cat... while I was listening to this drawn-out sob story I was contemplating a faked dropped-call to get him off of the phone... ) He was telling me this tale of woe, about how she has filed for divorce, asking for $1000/month in alimony, plus education expenses, all while he's paying his $1700 mortgage and the $300/month Camry payment. If he makes an equivalent amount to what I make (which I hope he doesn't, because he does so little work), he'll have about ten cents to rub together at the end of the month.

The thing is, I'd bet it's the Camry purchase that drove her away. The guy is totally an underwhelming underachiever, and the Camry purchase was surely the icing on the cake for his wife. That purchase surely signified to his wife his utter lack of aspiration, and his inability to make good decisions or to make her happy by buying her fancy things. It sounds like he deserves the Camry, it seems to suit the dull, underwhelming person he is.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

More Anti-Camry Rage

While the weather is nice in the midwest, I'm leaving my snooty Swedish car at home and riding my bike the 3+ miles to the office. It is a pretty nice commute, about half on dedicated bike paths, and the rest on wide, low-traffic roads. Usually, I am able to make my commute and not have any close encounters with cars.
I follow traffic laws, stop at stop signs, and ride with tracffic. I ride predictably and make my intentions clear. My bike is well-lit when it is dark out.
Yesterday on the way home I had not one, but two close encounters of the idiot-Camry variety. The first was an old lady in a metallic-maroon (burgundy?) Camry who made a left turn in front of me to pull into a strip mall. She was either going to visit a Cousin's Subs, Cost Cutters, or a video game store. But she made her left from the right lane (not the turn lane) and she didn't signal. I had to slam the brakes on hard to avoid her. If I'd been 20 feet ahead on the road, I'd have been a Camry hood ornament.
So I thought, wow, I was lucky there, but the rest of the ride should be okay. I made it about a mile close, and was maybe half a mile from home, when a tie-wearing, business-oriented Camry driver started pulling out of his driveway as I was riding up a hill. It was a long driveway, which crosses a sidewalk, and then the grassy area between the sidewalk and the road. Most people back out until they are past the sidewalk, and then re-check for road-users before backing the rest of the way into the road. but this guy slowed down to where I thought he was going to stop, but then kept right on coming, backing outright towards me. I yelled at him . "Hey Watch it!" And his window was down, so he stopped and and I rode past replied, "Sorry, I didn't see you." Well, no shit. The key is that you have to actually look!!! I told him he should start looking, since I was there every day. What an ass... I have been remiss in updating the anti-Camry, but I'll try to get back on it. There have definitely been no shortage of incidents.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


We've all seen it. The Camry driver who is so oblivious to what is going on outside of his or her own little cocoon of blandness that he or she should simply not be driving anymore. Their car should be seized in exchange for a lifetime bus pass. Here is the latest in a long line of clueless Camry operators:

Last weekend I went to a big Saab meet-up in my region. It took place at a now-historic 1950s drive-in/diner which is well-known for hosting car shows and car club gatherings. A secondary parking lot at this drive has signs which read something like "Reserved on Weekends for Car Shows." In other words, don't park in that lot if you aren't in the show. I arrived and backed my Saab into a spot beside another Saab. More Saabs were arriving and backing in. I think we had over 25 Saabs at our gathering. As the Saabs were arriving, so did a tan Camry, piloted by a frumpy middle-aged woman with two grade-school aged children in back. She pulled in and parked between two of the Saabs in our group, then proceeded to waddle over to get a big order of fries and root beer floats.

The primary parking lot of the drive-in was less than half-full, yet she bypassed that lot and then parked her dun-colored appliance in the middle of our shined-up Saabs. Jaws dropped. People stared. And away she waddled, clueless that we were staring, let alone that she had parked in the middle of our gathering. Eventually she and her greasy-fingered offspring returned to their car, haplessly backed out of the spot, and drove away. A late-arriving Saab driver carefully reversed into the spot she had vacated, and all was right in the world. Actually, all was right in the parking lot. All was still not right in the world, because Tan Camry Lady was surely off to cluelessly bungle somebody else's afternoon.

Fast-forward eleven days, to this very afternoon. I got an email from the Anti Camry comment reporter, letting me know that Gary from Car of the Day had commented on my blog. It turns out he shares my views on Camrys and their siblings. I read of his disdain for the hated transportation appliances, and left a comment. He later posted a small piece about this very blog on his site. I've started the stopwatch, as my fifteen minutes of fame havae surely arrived. I'm totally famous on the internet. As my head spins from the excitement, my iPhone beeps a reminder that it's time to go pick up my daughter from daycare. I grabbed the key to the Saab 9-3 Aero convertible I'm testing this week for Autosavant and headed out the door.

On my way across town, a formerly-gold Camry, whose ten-year-old paint resembled the texture brushed fiberglass of a former colleague's failed Fiero-to-DeLorean conversion, darted out of a grocery store parking lot, across three-and-a-half lanes of traffic, and stopped at a red light, straddling two lanes of traffic. As I approached that red light in the road's right lane, I crept up to the light near the sidewalk so that I could be beside the Camry and therefore get ahead of it when the light turned green. As I waited for the light to change, I was thinking that I could write about this car on for the Anti Camry. The car had no wheelcovers, a visibly dirty dashboard, and a broken front-passenger door handle. The driver wore no seatbelt, though the passenger, text messaging on a cell phone, did. The driver glared at me as I looked over his sorry car. When the light turned green, I roared away before he even managed to figure out which pedal he should step on to make the car go. I saw him in my rearview mirror just before I turned off. It looked like he had finally decided to go with the right lane. It had only taken him a half block to make that decision.

Even though I'm not writing regularly here on the Anti Camry, rest assured that fleets of tan Toyotas are still bungling me up. I just haven't got the time to write about them as often. I do still believe that the purchase of a new Toyota should come with free-and-mandatory driver training. They should also come with a sticker on the front window that reads "Keep Right Except To Pass". Not that the drivers would actually notice. Because they are clueless.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Learn to drive, Jackass!

Thanks to FedEx, I've just experienced a wonderful road rage incident perfect for posting here. After preparing my monthly expense report, I walked it up to my post office to put in in the FedEx drop box there. As I didn't have any envelopes, I planned to use the envelopes that are in the top of the drop box. After walking up there, the drop box was out of suppies. They had address forms, but no packaging. Poop.

I walked back home and got into my 900 and drove over to the FedEx/Kinko's in the strip mall near Costco. I hate driving there because it is located next to a very busy intersection for coming in/out of the strip mall, and it is difficult to back out of the parking spot and get out of the lot.

After sending my reports, I backed the car out of the spot and waited to turn left to the main driveway of the strip mall. Traffic in/out of the strip mall doesn't stop, but entering from either side (as I was) the traffic has stop signs. I waited for over two minutes for an opening, and the car across the driveway from me had taken their turn. The next opening was my turn go, and turn left onto the driveway. Instead, the ten-year-old Chrysler minivan across decided to drive straigh across. I jammed on my brakes to not hit him, and was stopped in the driveway. As I honked my horn, the male driving the Chrysler jammed his brakes on, so I couldn't move forward. He just sat there glaring at me.

While we were sitting there, blocking traffic, I put down my window to yell obscenities at him, to tell him it was my turn and to "Learn To Drive!" and The Jackass opened his door. He looked back to his bumper, I think he though I had hit his dirty van. When he saw I hadn't hit him he closed his door and peeled out taking off, without saying a word. By this time, other cars on all four sides were honking at us. What a fooking tool. My blood was boiling.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Learner's Permit Plus Toyota Camry Equals...

When somebody is learning a new skill, he should be trained on how to use all of the tools required to to perform that skill with the utmost precision. Unfortunately, my next-door neighbor's 16 year-old daugher is not being given that opportunity.

The eager young woman is being taught to drive in her father's dented tan Camry. Driving a car such as this, she'll never have the opportunity to learn about vehicle control, steering feedback, or any of those other aspects of driving that are "sensed" rather than learned from a book. I fully expect to see more dents in their Camry, and I'd wager that she'll back at least one tire into the "ditch" across the road from their driveway when she learns to reverse out of the driveway.

My one hope is that she can read the Camry's alarm fob instructions, and teach her father how to not set off the alarm with the PANIC button. I'm totally over the sound of his false car alarm.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Camry achieves first NASCAR win

In racing news today, Toyota has claimed the first victory by a foreign nameplate in NASCAR since a Jaguar won in Linden, NJ in 1951. Kyle Busch was first at the Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and team-mate Tony Stewart finished second. Although this was a "stock-car" race, this wasn't won by a stock Camry, however. This was a rear wheel drive V8. It did, however, have the blinker on for the entire 500 miles. The right-side blinker.
PS, look for the link coming up to Tony Stewart's rant about Goodyear Tires. Stewart said that Goodyear should be embarrased and should "pull out of NASCAR, just like they pulled out of IRL, F1 and CART...f that is they best tire they can put forward for this level of racing."
Tony Stewart Link(s) one,


Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Don't Rent a Sports Car from Hertz!

I'm making travel arrangements for a trip to my brother's wedding this summer, and was just online at Hertz to do so. Here is what I found:

Click on the photo and look closely- the fourth car down is the Toyota Camry, which is described as "Full Size, Sports Car, Automatic." Any person, organization, or company who is promoting a Camry as a Sports Car is a company you and I shouldn't be doing business with!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Monday, 4 February 2008

Corolla Commercial

What is worse than being stuck in a Corolla? Being stuck inside with wild animals...
I bet this guy wanted out of the Corolla as bad as my brother did.

I'd rather ride the bigwheels down the hill!!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

The Corolla is not a mid-sized car.

In my travels for work, I rent cars from Avis on an almost weekly basis. They have locations almost everywhere. By definition, then, a place without Avis is basically nowhere.

I traveled to Nowhere this week, also known as Walla Walla. They don't have an Avis location, only Hertz and Budget. According to the popluar saying, the town is so nice they named it twice. If the ancestors of the Hertz agent are responsible for naming it, perhaps the double name is because they forgot they named it the first time.

I don't really have anything against the town, it's actually pleasant to visit in the spring and fall. However, when I landed there on Tuesday at 9:00 PM, it was 11 degrees. I hustled across the snowy tarmac and into the terminal, and over the Hertz counter, where the agent confirmed that my car was mid-sized, as that was all he had. When I was handed the Toyota key, without a remote fob, I was confused. Don't all modern cars have keyless entry?

Not the Corolla I was rented. Now my first comment was that the Corolla isn't mid-sized. Well, according to the agent (and the Hertz fleet guide) it is. When I got out to stall 5 in the ice-covered parking lot, I found that my Corolla was completely iced over, and frost even covered the INSIDE of the rear window.

I started the car, let it warm while I de-iced. The Suzuki and the Kia parked on either side of my car were equally icy, and no more desirable. Finally de-iced, I set about pulling away.

Immediately the lack of traction from the econobox tires was apparent. A touch of the brakes confirmed that, yes, in 2008 new cars are still available without ABS.

I've decided that the CE moniker on the back of the Corolla means Crappy Econobox. What joy I experienced stomping on the gas pedal and letting the tires spin, spin, spin on the ice.

I don't have anything good to say about the car. When I did reach dry pavement, the accelleration was uninspiring, the brakes were merely adequate, and the cockpit wasn't big enough for me. The motor was noisy. I 4-wheel drifted each corner as quickly as iI could on Wednesday afternoon to return the POS to Hertz. Yuck. I don't want to drive one of those again.

Friday, 4 January 2008


Erik sent this one to me from his cell phone; he's driving from Madison to Cocoa Beach, and he happened to be behind this appropriately-licensed Camry. From the looks of it he's just leaving Madison. Hopefully this Camry isn't an omen of Camrys to come on his trip.
I wonder whether RAM YA 1-6 were already taken? Perhaps the driver has already gone through those plates on his previous Toyotas that he rammed into things?