Archive for February, 2010

Keep It Down, Hitler

Friday, February 26th, 2010

While looking for examples of girlie auto decoration, I found this eyesore:

Pink Beetle Convertible for Barbie’s Big Five-O

*cringe* I guess it makes sense that our traditional blond-haired, blue-eyed buxom babe would be driving a femmed-up Nazi sled for her 50th birthday, but did they have cram it down our throats with 50 different shades of pink?

Outer Dilemma

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Now that I’m finally at the point where I can put decals on the car, I’m at a loss for what should go on there. Awhile back, I met with Francis, owner of D Only Son in LA. Unfortunately, he’s friends with Admir, Admir and I have unfinished business, drama, drama, etc.

So, I decided to wait until I was back in Seattle to have decals put on the car. I was lucky enough to have the guys at L-M Auto recommend JJ Graphics just down the street from their shop, where Jody has been putting together some mock-ups of what they might look like.

I’m going to move forward with the artwork on the rear door:

But I’m not loving the look of the large lettering on the sides. I had a really blurry vision of what I wanted, but I’m not a designer. I can’t even begin to dream up something as nice as what a more artistic person could, let alone pull it out of my head and into a viewable format.

So basically, I’m left with letters on a car. They could be straight:

Or angled:

Either way, it just looks unfinished to me. I’m hoping to get the help of some designers in the coming weeks to, well… finish.

Rain City Hearse Club Meetup

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

After being in the Rain City Hearse Club for almost a year, I attended my first meetup today at Poodle Dog in Tacoma. Even if I had been in town for any of the prior meetups, I probably wouldn’t have gone without a hearse. Judging from the low turnout and the emails from non-attendees that followed, it’s an understandable sentiment.

Rick, Frank, Mike, and I met with Troy, who is organizing this year’s Crypticon in Everett. He gave us an overview of the event and how we could help. Since I have a hearse that is outfitted specifically to transport people, I’ll be making airport runs before settling into my booth at the convention.

Although I have a pretty good idea of what I want to wear, there was talk of giving me a full-on gothing. I’ve always gotten by wearing relatively little makeup, and I’m not even sure that goth makeup would look right on someone with my facial features, but I’m open to whatever people want to do. It’s not like I have a personal conflict with scaring small children. Plus, Troy is planning to have Chuckles DeClown greet guests at the airport, so it would be nearly impossible to be the freakiest-looking person there.

They’re expecting about 5,000 people to attend for three days of shows, activities, and partying, so I think this will be an fun chance to make some contacts and promote the car. If you were too lazy to click the Crypticon link, it runs June 18-20. Folks in the Seattle area: Come out for at least one of the days and say hi!

Barbie’s First Passive-Aggressive Seattle Note

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

As I may have mentioned, I am back in Seattle now (YES YES YES!) and while I love this city very much, it is not without its drawbacks. Namely, people here seem to think their opinions are important enough to spend time writing notes to other people they don’t know and will likely never meet. As you can imagine, Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” section is very popular.

Anyway, my temporary living situation puts me right in the heart of downtown, which means I have to put my car in a garage downtown. I understand space is limited, but the place I keep my car is the largest garage that is close by, and they don’t have spaces for longer vehicles.

They have spaces for SUVs, however, and when I can snag one of those, I’m golden. People entering the garage can see my car and avoid it. But if you like to enter the garage doing 60 mph in your Z3 roadster, you were in for a rude awakening if you didn’t slow down when you turned the corner.

I found my car unharmed, but with this note in the window:

I appreciate the compliments, but my first reaction to the note was, “You almost hit me twice? Were you drunk?” I stick out a little far, I admit, but I think people had ample space to get in and out:

Still, I am in danger of getting clipped, so a working compromise is to park in two spaces at the very bottom of the garage where my car will be nearly out of sight and unable to offend anyone else’s delicate sensibilities!

A New Frank

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Rick from the Rain City Hearse Club recommended L-M Body Shop on our discussion forum right around the time I returned to Seattle. In the back of my mind, I was planning to look for someone as patient and skilled as Frank to help maintain the car once I got up here, but I wasn’t looking forward to the arduous task of finding the phantom “perfect shop”.

Of course, I found myself needing some minor body work and door lock repairs almost immediately, so I took the car in last week. Since I never had a car up here, I wouldn’t have known where to go if Rick hadn’t said something about L-M out of the blue.

Dave, the owner, was relaxed and pleasant to do business with. He was happy to hear Rick recommended him and to have the opportunity to work on my (now) one-of-a-kind hearse. This was a huge relief, as I’d half-expect a “WTF” reaction from the average body shop, not to mention a stiff “female tax” when the bill came.

All of Dave’s employees were enthusiastic and complimentary of the car. They seemed quite knowledgeable of older and custom cars, and happy with their jobs in general, which I think says a lot. His wife, Tami, runs the office, and she’s very nice and well organized.

They had my driver’s side rear door looking like new by the deadline quoted, and they fixed the passenger side door lock so it would actually lock when I used the remote. I had to leave LA in a hurry, so I didn’t get to test everything I wanted to before I left. It is such a relief to have a good, reliable shop up here since I can’t visit Frank and his people.

The man who drove me to and from home while they worked on my car, Luis, was friendly and gave me some good tips for cleaning my car. (Did I mention they detailed my car when they were done working on it? How awesome is that?) Although we spoke English the whole time, he did a great job of filling Pablo’s shoes.

When we arrived at the shop, I saw a light blue ’86 Lincoln hearse parked next to my Barbie Dream Hearse.

“Did you get my car a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day?” I exclaimed as I walked into the office.

Rick found out from Dave that I would be picking up the car that day and wanted to see Barbie for himself. He (like many other car enthusiasts) was wary of the girlie limo seating idea, but admitted that it was well executed and perfect for what I want to do. And, his car is also a girl, so I guess Barbie’s gonna swing both ways.

I ended up going back to L-M today because the passenger seatbelt was over-extended, and I thought maybe something had happened when they popped the door off to look at the locks. They took off the door panel and showed me the plastic track that was getting in the way of it catching to allow it to roll back up, and they fixed it about 10 minutes. It wasn’t their fault and they still didn’t charge me, which was really nice of them.

Pictured below is my passenger door with the panel taken off. They mostly just had to cut out that white plastic part and reattach it.

All in all, I can’t believe how lucky I got when it came to this particular to-do item. If only everything could be this easy!

Party Mode for Party Kats

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Luckily, the Barbie Dream Hearse is ALWAYS in Party Mode. But if it weren’t, I’d have this.

What, No Girlie Limo Driver Barbie?

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Then they could have sold a doll AND a scaled-down replica of the Barbie Dream Hearse!

Meet Barbie the Computer Engineer

I like that she’s finally entering an industry that exploded a couple decades ago, but does this mean we’ll have to wait as long for her to burn out on tech jobs and start her own business?

Because Some People Need a Written Invitation

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

To all Seattlites, native and visiting

Bedtime Stories

Friday, February 5th, 2010

I guess there’s something about driving a hearse around that screams, “Talk to me! Tell me about your dead loved ones!” I’m hoping this is a fluke, since I never know what to say to people when they dwell on the dead, even if they’re good friends.

I was getting gas in Ashland, Oregon. Rather, an attendant was filling my gas tank for me, since you can’t do it yourself there. He was an old hippie… pleasant.

When I finished using the bathroom, I was nearly accosted by some lady who had seen my car from down the street. She had been talking to the attendant and apparently I was her next victim.

“Aaagghhh! I nearly had a heart attack!” she exclaimed. “I thought the ladies up the street at the Coffee Bean were playing a joke on me with this big car here.”

“No, it’s not a joke,” I said, vainly attempting to sound cheerful. It was pouring rain and windy, the bad weather in the mountains had seriously screwed me up timewise, and I was in desperate need of coffee.

“Well I thought it was joke! Those ladies have a crazy sense of humor!”

“No, ma’am. It’s not a joke. This is really my car, and I really use it to transport myself and my possessions from one place to another.”

“Let me tell you, I’ve know a LOT of people who have been in one of these,” she said. “Toooo many people.”

I didn’t quite understand what was so special about that, unless she was trying to tell me she had friends in the funeral business. So I said, “Alive or dead?”

She indignantly replied, “Well they weren’t alive! No indeed, they definitely weren’t!”

“Well, everyone dies. Have a good night.”

Sorry, lady. Try spending six hours alternating between crawling up steep inclines in the far right lane sandwiched between semi trucks because your car doesn’t have any pickup and riding your brakes down curvy roads, hoping you don’t spin out or hydroplane into some jackass in a sports car. The only death that concerns me right now is mine.

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

I spent the night in Sacramento in a way-too-expensive hotel at the last minute. I don’t know what I thought would happen. It gets harder and harder to plan things these days, it seems. My main concern was finding a place with a decent-sized parking garage so my car would be safe. I’ve had the car for less than a day, and it would be just my luck for something ridiculous to happen.

I’m happy to report that so far, it’s all good. I was able to meet up with my friend Janet and drive her around town before heading northbound. Is it ironic that the first passenger in my funeral-coach-come-conversion-limo is a gray-haired retiree? Not if she’s alive, I guess. But the world is lucky she is! Driving Miss Janet was the breath of fresh air I needed before the steep, challenging roads in rainy Northern California.