Who needs power windows, lights that come on when the air pressure in your tires is a smidgeon too high or a smidgeon too low, automatically readjusting everything, and all the other bells and whistles on the modern car! The truth is, unless you suffer from some type of disability, these bells and whistles are not need based.

Where can you purchase a basic and reliable vehicle, that gets you from point A to point B with as little fuss and bother as possible? That is, after all, what a car is for, travelling from point A to B, isn’t it?

Perhaps if I had to live in my car I might view this differently. I am aware that in North America many people have to live in their cars, so my apologies to them, because my comments do not take their needs into account. I am very lucky to only need a car for transportation from point A to point B.

We have a 1998 model Toyota that is still chugging along. It has handles to wind the windows open and shut, locks that require a key and mechanics that a human can work on, no computer required. Our newer model car is not so user friendly. It opens by beeper, the windows open and close with buttons, almost everything in it is designed for convoluted and dealer maintenance. In other words, we paid a lot of money for things we do not need.

But they do not make a model without all these bells and whistles, so what options are there if you must own a car for transportation?

I remain vigilante in my search for viable options. We do not need another vehicle at the moment. Things can change.

Why doesn’t North America just notch it down a bit; get rid of the superfluous and get down to basics? Leave bells and whistles, in cars and houses and lifestyles and profits, to the people who need them, not the people who merely want them.

Winter is back. It snowed off and on all night last night, but accumulated only a few inches. The weather report predicts cold nights for the next week, so we will be cozying up the fireplace for a while yet. Winter is still in full force here on the Canadian Shield. Writing again at the end of the day I can report that there is a blizzard out there! The low tonight will be -13C, so Attila is out in the blustery snowfall, splitting wood for tonight’s firing, and another firing int he morning. March!

I found myself quite restless today, alternately pacing the floor, working and pausing for long periods of time to stare out the window at the snow, from where I stood working not eh computer. It was a long, long day.

The genealogy project progresses slowly. Work continues on the first generation in the database, born in Scotland in the 1700s. Slow going with the citation edits, important though, very important.

The web site projects are getting a fair bit of my attention these days. Edits have been undertaken, which are now easier, since I’ve setup scripts to setup work areas (desktops on a Mac if anyone is interested). I enjoy working with the scripting language, and have yet to delve into manipulating the inner workings of software packages. That is high on my list for things to learn.

The location I worked at on Monday is a good one, in my estimation. However, the last time I was there, in December, I came down with the flu just after arriving home from work. This time, I arrived home and developed a painful sinus condition, which I am fighting right now. Just a fluke, that I have caught something contagious the last two visits to that location. If I get sick the next time I work there I will begin to wonder if the universe isn’t trying to tell me something!

Our newer car needed new tires. I took it in yesterday to have them put on, and the fellow told me that the old ones were completely bald. Visually, they did not look bald to me, but he might not be referring to a visual assessment. In fact, the old tires were so bad that they were causing the car to shimmy. The shimmy is gone with the new tires. But one of the rims is bent apparently, so I have to go back and get that repaired, they have ordered the parts and will call to make an appointment when the parts arrive.

While I was in town getting new tires put on the car, I ran a few errands that needed doing. One of them was to purchase a bottle of vodka. I wanted to purchase AlCool, which is plain alcohol, and used to be available at liquor stores in Ontario. There was none to be found. The clerk did a search to see if there was any at other stores and found a supply was still in the warehouse. She put an order in for us, but that was months ago and the product was never shipped from the warehouse. No idea why, there is something wonky there. So I decided to purchase vodka instead, for my project.

My Christmas wish list included vanilla beans, which I received from Terra and Lares. This morning I split the beans to expose the inner pod and seeds, added the lot to the bottle of vodka, screwed on the lid and gave it a good shake. It will be kept in a dark cupboard and taken out for a daily vigorous shake, until it becomes “vanilla”. The process, from what I’ve read, will take a few months.

Worldly Distractions


-6 °C
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 k
Temperature: -6.2°C
Dewpoint: -9.9°C
Humidity: 75 %
Wind: W 21 gust 32 km/h
Wind Chill: -13


“Live always in the best company when you read.”
Sydney Smith
1771 – 1845

“Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.”
469 BC – 399 BC

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Stubblejumpin Gal

Works really well and wow you’ll have the size bottle of vanilla I only dream of! I go through it so fast.
Must find some vanilla beans again …

Sarah (Rhubarb)

I spent a career in transportation, and many, many hours on the road. I agree with you that the whistles and bells (and their vulnerability to breakdown) are really unnecessary. Once the mirrors are set (by hand is fine) and the seat adjusted to the right position (by hand), you’re done and ready to hit the road. One doo-dad that I really do like, though, is the ability to adjust the steering wheel, since I’m short and in the older cars can barely see over the wheel.

I feel strongly that one should be able to buy a basic car and buy a higher end car with electronic stuff if wanted, but not be forced to buy one run by computer and electric switches if one did not want them.


Real vanilla has gotten so expensive, so I understand why you’re trying to create your own. Our new car has got those fancies, too. I don’t really care for the power seat, it would be much faster to just pull the lever. And the car must be on to open or shut the windows, not really a convenience. The newest cars, however, don’t even have a normal key to start it up. If all the digital things on it fail, they will be useless.