Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dallas, the newest synonym for Hell

Well, after being here for over a week, I can officially call Dallas Hell. The people here are fairly rude and when they are being friendly, you can tell that it's fake. Dallas is just one big strip mall. Anyone who believes that the cuisine here is great is kiddin themselves. Every "restaurant" here is part of a mega-chain business. If I wanted to eat frozen food, then I would just go to the frozen section of one of the many, many, many Wal-Marts here. While at Wal-Mart picking up your frozen food, make sure to get some bottle water if there's any left on the shelf. Why no water on the shelf you ask? Well, the water in this drought-stricken hell tastes like roach spray. I have never seen so many chain-raunts before in my life. I'm used to eating at restaurants where the cook is actually a chef, not some guy with a tall hat on. I've been to many other cities and they all had at least some culture or uniqueness. Maybe it's because I'm from southern Louisiana, but this place has absoulutely no culture. If you visit Chicago, New York City, New Orleans, Boston, etc., you know that you are in a place that is differnet than others. The architecture here is bland at best, and every single street and intersection looks the same. Maybe it's because most people here are pretty much "bumpkins" and have traveled very little outside of Texas if at all, but they have this feeling that Dallas is the greatest city in the U.S. This place is full of traffic filled roads, malls with the same stores in every one of them, and people who would probaly find great pleasure in sitting on their own thumbs!! I have never been to a place with absolutely no scenery. There's virtually no trees, the grass/hay is brown, and only a person with an affinity for the color "concrete grey" could possibly enjoy their surrondings. No matter what large city you visit, there's always the place you "have to visit". In Dallas, those places are the grassy knoll where Kennedy was assasinated and the Ranch where the t.v. series "Dallas" was filmed. That's it. Why anyone would choose this place as a vacation spot is beyond me. Even small towns that are little more than villages in Southern Louisiana have a history and culture. Well, sorry for my unintelligible rant here but I'm ready to go back to good ol' Southern Louisiana where the water doesn't taste like pesticide, and I have the choice of eating at a chain restaurant or a "real" restaurant.

Still Stuck in Dallas

Well, here it is over a week later and still stuck in Dallas on what was suppose to be a 2 day trip. The first shop (Marshall Auto Repair, in Dallas took 5 days and charged me $400 to change a couple of hoses and other items and the bug still overheated. So then they told me it was the water pump and timing belt that needs to be changed. Well, they thought that they could pull the wool over my eyes because I'm from out of town and they thought I was staying at a hotel. Well, I'm staying with family and I know quite a bit about cars and how to repair them. They quoted me a price of $1600 to change the waterpump, the thermostat, and waterpump. They also wanted to charge me $236 to change the hood lock as a plastic lever on it broke. The actual price to fix the hood lock?? It's $9. When I inquired as to why so much for the various repairs, the guy at the shop "explained" that he had to take parts off of the engine to change the thermostat and that would cost over $600. Little did he know, I know how to change the thermostat on the car, but I don't have any tools with me as I'm not at home. The thermostat costs $6.99 from autozone and you don't have to remove any parts from the car, there's 3 screws holding it in place. In order to change the waterpump on new cars, you have to remove the timing belt as it runs across the pulley on the waterpump. When changing the timing belt at the same time as the waterpump, you only have to put on a new timing belt instead of putting the old one back on. There is no additional labor involved to put a new one. Nil. Every mechanic suggests changing the timing belt and water pump at the same time as there is no additional labor costs, only the cost of the new belt ($39.99) Marshall Auto Repair in Dallas told me the cost of changing the timing belt and water pump were so high because it would take 4 hours to change the water pump and then another 4 1/2 hours to change the timing belt. Can you say trying to get over?? What makes it worse is that I chose to send the VW Beetle to Marshall Auto Repair because I visited their website and there was a link to an article that was published in the Dallas Morning News where the owner of Marshall's stated that she would like to think that practices of gouging in the auto repair business were a thing of the past. In the owner's defense, it was an employee there, Moises Guardiola, who quoted and gave me the lame excuses for the exuberant prices, however it is the owner who must approve of the practices in their shop as they have the power to hire and fire. Needless to say, I picked up my vehicle ASAP!!!! I went to a website that I knew,, and put out a SOS for help finding a reputable mechanic in Dallas for help. Eventually, I was directed to and Jason from Kraut Burner introduced me to a mechanic who could do timing belt and water pump quickly as he knew that I needed to get home asap. I really appreciated Jason's help as he led me to someone who would be able to help me even though it cost him my business as he wouldn't be able to provide help as quickly as I needed it. So if anyone out there needs a timing belt kit for their Audi or VW please visit as he has very reasonable prices and provides service that cannot be equaled. So as I type this, I'm still in Dallas and hopefully the Beetle will be ready tomorrow or early the next morning and we can end our "vacation" in the hell known as Dallas. In conclusion, please avoid Marshall Auto Repair ( like the plague. The VW Dealership quoted repair prices half of what Marshall's did and traditionally it's the dealership that is waaaay overpriced.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Dallas Debacle

Hello again, I know that I've been slipping a little lately on the posts, but I'll keep trying to post more often. Well, part of the reason I haven't posted in the past couple of days has been the fact that I've been stranded in Dallas. The Mrs. and I went to go and pick up our "Master", aka daughter and on the way we had a break-down. First it started as a tire whose tread began to seperate while we were on the Highway. We pulled over at a gas station and low and behold there was a tire station there. It was a mom-n-pop operation somewhere near Canton, TX and after about an hour we were on our way again. Well, unfortunately the pop in this operation jacked up the car and somehow damaged one of the engine cooling lines and about 10 minutes after we left, our car started to overheat. Well, to make a long story short, it took us 13 hours to make a 5 hour trip to Dallas.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mr. Sauerkraut's Fever

Hi again! I'm writing this post several hours after watching the final game of the world cup. I was pulling for Germany but unfortunately they lost to Italy in the semi-finals. My other favorite team, England also lost earlier in the tournament. So this left me me rooting for either Italy or France to win it all. I decided to pull for France ass I really like Arsenal's Thierry Henry and Real Madrid's Zidane. I felt going into the final match that Italy had made it here mostly thanks to the play of their goalie and if they win it all it would be because of him alone. In several matches this World Cup Italy appeared to be in poor condition at the end of the game. Well, unfortunately Italy's goalie had another magnificent game, stopping several spectacular shot attempts, including Zidane's amazing header in overtime. Italy prevailed in penalty kicks to win the 2006 edition of the world cup. France defiantly deserved to win as they pressed to score while Italy looked as though they were praying to take the game to penalty kicks and take their chances there. Congratulations to the Italian fans out there; I don't feel as the best "team" won but the one who had the most luck over the past month combined with this tournament's best goalie. This final had an ugly moment late in the match as Zidane head butted an Italian player late in the game. The Italian player had it coming as several of the French players stated that had been letting racial slurs fly all game. If this is indeed true, hopefully FIFA will following their newly adopted rules to reign in racism and suspend and fine.. the Italian player. Overall, this was an enjoyable world cup, despite the poor American commentaries, and unlike 2002 when the games were played in Japan and South Korea, (and thus broadcasted in the dead of the night here in the U.S.) I watched about 50 of the 64 games. Well, that's all for tonight, take care and start the countdown for World Cup 2010 in South Africa.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Hi, this is my latest update. In this post, I will write a short review of a book that I recently read, The Five People you Meet in Heaven, written by Mitch Albom. I decided to pick this book up based upon several good reviews I've read about it and they were all correct; The Five People You Meet in Heaven is an enjoyable, hard to put down book. At only 196 pages, Five People is a short but inspiring trip. Five People tells the story of Eddie, the head handyman of a seaside amusement park, who dies saving a young girl on his 83rd birthday. Five people is written with the premise that when we all die, we will meet five people in heaven who give us the meaning of our life. During his 83 years on earth, Eddie believes fate has dealt him a life which has proved to be meaningless. Once he dies, Eddie meets five people, some he Knew and others he never met in life. From these five people, Eddie learns how important his life was, and how much of an impact he had upon others, some that he never met before going to heaven. I really enjoyed reading about Eddie and can relate to his feelings of uselessness and of living a life of potential unfulfilled. Often I feel like a failure for not finishing college yet and not making the most of the gifts that God has blessed me with. Sometimes I really feel as though I'm just drifting through life living day to day. However, Eddie's experiences gives me hope that if I never accomplish the goals that I feel I should meet in life that my life will not have been wasted; we all make an impact upon others - even if we don't see it now - sometimes providing others with the inspiration to achieve their goals. Once again, I highly recommend this bookie quickly finished reading it in one sitting. The next book that I'm going to read will probably be the polar opposite of this book - The Cell by Stephen King. Be on the lookout for another book review in the very near future. Bye for now!!!

Mr Saurkraut's Sour Stomach

Well, I'm finally posting in my blog again. I couldn't post last week as my computer went nuts on me. Fortunately, my computer whiz mom had one of her computer whiz friends fix it for me. unfortunately, my hard drive was completely erased so I lost all of my programs and I'm still trying to reinstall everything. On top of that, my brother-in law and his wife came over and neglected to mention that they were just getting over a Stomach virus (it takes 8-to 10 days to get rid of even if you aren't showing any symptoms), and needless to say it Made its way-to my prineccsazen and I. If you're not familiar with the stomach virus, just imagine 24 hours of vomiting and diarrhea along with a fever. It took about 48 hours for most of symptoms to go away, and only now, a week later, am I really starting to feel better. Well, I'm going to wrap this post up now; I should post again today or tomorrow. Peace and Audi 5000 G!!!!