We recently purchased our second vehicle from CarMax and I heartily endorse this nationwide dealership. There are 4 big advantages to shopping at CarMax:

  1. They keep a large late model low-mileage inventory on their lot (at least here in Orlando), and its organized by vehicle type, so its easy to make hands-on comparisons between auto-makers. You can compare different makes of small SUV’s, or 2 door coupes, or crew cab pickups.
  2. Their entire inventory is on line and searchable in great detail, with photographs and pricing. You can search any of their lots, or a wider geographic range. And their online inventory appears to be up to the minute accurate.
  3. Their pricing is firm and fair and below bluebook. No bullshit or haggling. I almost got in a fistfight over the hard sell I got at a Nissan dealership when we recently went for a test drive.
  4. Vehicles are inspected and guaranteed. I don’t feel the need to get a third party mechancal appraisal before purchasing.

If there is a CarMax dealer near you, give it a try sometime, or just go window shopping and tire kicking on the web.

More photos

More photos from our weekend in Sebastian, hosted at The 9 images there are available in high resolution.

This picture here is castnetting for mullet (bait) in the river right in the backyard of the lodge we stayed at. The Ferndale lodge advertises on their website a 250′ shaded dock on the river with boat slips. However, they are still struggling to rebuild the dock from the hurricanes last year. So I made do and just tied my boat off to a pylon and waded back and forth. I really missed the convenience of a dock, and the opportunity to sit out over the water in the early morning and evenings.

Beach Video

We’re back, Linda’s started her new job, Gina is in Utah with Uncle Rick, and I finished up this short video shot by Linda while we were down in Indian River County over the weekend. It was a pain to complete, because I put so many titles and overlapping sound effects in it, my 4 year old pentium III computer gasped and said “Uncle”. So I had to render it in pieces.

Tech note: the still pictures were imported at 640 pixels, the video was shot at 320 pixels, and the final cut was rendered in Windows Media (WMV) at 640 pixels, and its still a little jumpy. A clean video rendering would be over 100MB, so this is a good compromise. The file download is 15MB. It may take a few minutes.

update: I shared the video with a local fishing discussion board, and they have some nice comments over there.

11/06/2005: The file has been uploaded to google video.

Opry photos

Here’s a couple of snapshots. I only got one good photo of the stage, I took about 10 pictures from my seat, but without flash, the exposure times were too long for the handheld camera and they all had camera shake except this one of the Del McCoury bluegrass band.

Del McCourey band

Here’s me outside the venue..

and here’s gina checking her instant messages at the restaurant just before showtime.
instant messaging


I regret we couldn’t get to Memphis. During this road trip, I’m reading Highway 61: A Father-and-Son Journey through the Middle of America, a travel/memoir by University of Florida rock and roll scholar Bill McKeen. (Bill is an acquaintance from high school, he graduated with me back in Bloomington IN). The book is about a road trip he took with his son down Highway 61 from Minnesota to New Orleans.

I’m really enjoying the book, its full of Indiana and Florida references (Disney World, strohs beer and Carl Hiassen), our childhoods were similar, moving about quite a bit, and we are of course of the exact same generation.

He spends a good part of the book describing their stay in Memphis, and its rich musical heritage. It would have been wonderfully complimentary to our Nashville stay.

oh well, maybe some other time.

Grand Ole Opry

We went last night, and it was great. There weren’t any big top 40 stars, but some recognizable faces — to me at least. Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and Del Mcoury were the big names. There were several of the creaky oldtimers that I’m familiar with from watching the weekly show on cable channel GAC….Little Jimmy Dickens and Porter Wagner for example.

The biggest novelty about this is that its basically still a radio show. There are lots of people on stage, and live commercials are read by an announcer every two songs or so. The sponsors change every half hour, and there were 5 half hour sets in our portion of the evening (9:30-midnight). The commercials work perfectly to cover the equipment and musician changes. The performers welcome pictures, and people swarm the apron with digital cameras and camera phones. All the transitions and handoffs ran like clockwork.

We had GREAT seats, in the third row. The Grand Ole Opry House is a huge modern concert hall, a startling contrast from the Ryman Auditorium which housed the broadcast for many years. The sound mix was excellent. I’ll post some pictures later.

Today we leave and will take a southeastern route home to avoid storm Dennis. Good luck Florida panhandle!