06 November 2008

I'm really POd, so I keep blogging

Here are the top items on my agenda when I return to the cursed land known as Southern California. (The man who set up my Seoul meditation agrees - Southern California is a cursed, mean-spirited land, and he will relocate to Seattle.)
  • Shortly before my return, I will use the Internet to locate nearby electronics recyclers. Within 24 hours of my arrival, I intend to deliver my Samsung TV there.
  • At about the same time, I will start assessing my automotive needs. Do I even need two cars? While the BMW must go, I also have an aging but nice Honda Accord. A possible scenario is that I will retire the BMW and live off of the Accord, until the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid comes to the market.
  • Another possible scenario is that I will trade in my BMW for a Hyundai Genesis, keep the Genesis as a nice weekend/special occasions car to be shared between me and my folks, and keep driving the Accord for work. I have enough money for any decision I choose to make, and my BMW will fetch about $15,000 or more at trade-in. The Genesis should cost me about $25K in cold, hard cash with the trade, and I have the money.
  • I will have to contact Sirius to cancel my subscription, which now covers only the BMW. I have no desire to put in aftermarket satellite radio on the Honda. All Hyundai vehicles use XM for satellite radio, and for now, the two services remain separate, with XM being the more progressive of the two.
  • Some BMW owner groups continue to email me. I will ask to be taken off the lists, and definitely let them know why.
I've pretty much decided to buy a Hyundai as my next car, something that I would've NEVER done even a year ago, when I was extremely steamed about the election of the 2MB government. As much as I hate Southern California's car culture and reactionary politics, I somehow internalized that "you are what you drive" mentality myself. (Go ahead. Bite me.) I will certainly be making the following statements by driving a Hyundai.
  • It keeps the spirit of my current South Korean sojourn alive for years to come. I'll help it even further by possibly installing Kwan Yin, in the form of a dashboard statue or a necklace hanging from the rearview mirror. I will certainly look for a suitable Kwan Yin automotive ornament, particularly during my road trip.
  • It shows that I care for South Korea's workers and everyday people, something South Korea's own conservative establishment can never claim. (They are too busy spending their 2MB tax cuts on Lexuses and other foreign luxury items.) I can definitely declare who my friends are - and to a lesser extent, who my enemies are.
  • If Hyundai ends up building the Sonata Hybrid in the US (the Sonata V6 is already made only in the US and sold only in North America) and that's the car I end up with, I extend my appreciation to fellow Americans as well; although Alabama (home of Hyundai's US production) is a fairly regressive state in itself as well, it is also a way for me to pay homage to Barack Obama, and his idea that there is only one America - one that everyone will change together. I am already known to do business with some shady American companies, such as United Airlines, out of appreciation for their rank-and-file.
  • I care more about value and practicality than about vanity. The US-market Genesis has a small Hyundai emblem on the trunk and absolutely nothing on the hood; people will definitely wonder who made my car, and will be surprised at the answer. A BMW, by contrast, is never mistaken for anything else, and immediately shouts out: "Hey, I support the Nazis and voted yes on Props 22 and 8!" My current 3-series is quite tiny, with pathetic trunk capacity, and its interior is downright primitive. (And its firm ride really hurts on long road trips - the kind of driving I do the most with it.) The only place where the BMW shines is on the racetrack (the only justification for the higher BMW price tags), but I never hang out there. Last, but not the least, BMWs are complicated things with poor reliability; my 3-series has had a few electrical gremlins, and it will only get worse from now on. (And my warranty has expired.)
  • Both the Genesis and the Sonata Hybrid will allow me to give a nod to Seoul's fashionistas. The cars themselves are not all that fashion-forward, but they do convey the energy of the fashionistas who drive them. And I've taken a number of fashion cues from them. I want to take that style right onto California's crumbling freeways. (And their interiors certainly are fashionable.)
  • Once I start driving a Hyundai, my car will have the distinction as probably the only Hyundai that spends more time in West Hollywood (or San Francisco's Castro) than in Koreatown. But that's a distinction that I will perversely enjoy. At least it will travel to San Francisco without offending anyone. By contrast, taking a BMW to San Francisco is unconscionable, due to BMW's funding of Bill O'Reilly and his threats against one of the few bright spots in the messed-up state. In fact, I will schedule a San Francisco road trip as soon as possible after taking delivery.
  • The fact does remain that domestic partner benefits are still an unknown concept among South Korean megacorporations, both at home and in the US, the latter primarily due to pressure from the Korean-American religious extremists. Hyundai has, however, funded my local LGBT community center. While the homophobe 2MB is a former Hyundai executive, he was no longer part of the company by the time he entered politics.
I should make a firm decision on the automotive front, after I spend a week driving around South Korea. I am prepared to kick some asses hard, whenever and wherever, in as many ways as possible.

US Market Hyundai Genesis

Update: Scratch the Sonata Hybrid; it won't be available until the 2011 redesign. I am NOT gonna wait that long. I must get rid of the Nazi now! By 2011, however, it might make sense to replace my Accord, however, but I am not gonna be rushing to replace the Accord while it still runs.