Do NOT(!) rent a van from Indie Campers

I wanted to try out a camper van for a vacation to see what it was like to van life it. I found a pet-friendly local option in my area (Seattle) called Indie Campers that rented out vans. They were pretty pricey, but a lot cheaper than like, buying a van. So I went for it. I wish I had paid more attention to the negative reviews of Indie Campers before doing so. Here’s an explanation of our negative experience with Indie Campers.

Pickup location bait and switch: 2 hours away

At first, it said the pickup location is at the Seattle Tacoma airport. Great. There’s public transit to there, and it’s just 15 mins down the road. As the time for the vacation got closer, I got more concerned about details about where exactly at the airport to pick it up. I kept following their FAQ to get details and it said to go to the center of the passenger terminal. That’s suspicious. Then, a few hours before pickup (right when the cancellation deadline moves into “no money back no matter what” category) they reveal that ope the location is actually in Enumclaw, a full 1-hour drive beyond the airport, in good traffic. 2 hours in bad traffic. And that’s one way, so this adds between 2 and 4 hours to your pickup plans all of a sudden. Slap in the face.

When we got there, there were 5 other customers there, and they all thought the pickup location was at the airport. They flew in and had to spend an ungodly amount of money on an Uber to get there. Super deceitful. After this, we added the spot to the google maps for the next person. You’re welcome.

2.5 hour duration to pickup

Continue reading Do NOT(!) rent a van from Indie Campers

How about a nice game of chess?

Here’s a random one. I’ve had this talking electronic chess board since 1994. It’s called the Sharper Image Design Talking Chess Companion. Model SM 470. It’s awesome and wonderful and I can’t find any commentary on it on the internet. Therefore, this. I’ve taken the attached video showing Chester in all his glory, and with all of his loving phrases. Such as:

Hi! I’m Chester. How about a nice game of chess?

Sure you’re playing better but your taking more time than me.

Now I’ve got you!

How about a draw?

Many good times hanging out with old Chester. They did a great job putting in tonality into his commentary. It’s really like playing with another person. I only wish the random number generator had him do other openings more often. I’ve never really used the tournament openings mode, but I’m kind of curious. I wish I still had the manual. Anyway, the best part is that I know that my 4th-grade self is better at chess than my current self because I used to be able to easily beat Chester on a higher level than I can now.

finally, a way to get organized

I’ve had an ongoing battle with staying organized. It never went anywhere — I tried a lot of different notes-taking programs and stuff, and even started a blog to try to do it. Well the other day, I came up with an idea that I think will work really well. I told it to a couple people and they said

that’s a really good idea, I think I’ll try it too.

It’s really simple too. Just take a thin 3-ring binder (1.5″ or whatever) and put a bunch of printer paper in it (you have to punch the holes). Now, when you get a task to do, write it on top of a piece of paper, and write the date and a 1 with a circle around it. Write down the task and your basic plan of attack. As you do the task, write down what you did, what problems you had, what solutions you had, and where you left off. If you need more pages, just add another page and put a 2 with a circle around it. Once you get a bunch of tasks going on, this method is really useful because you can see exactly what you did and why you did it. Once the task is finished, staple  all the pages and file it in its category in a file cabinet or something.

Not only has this kept me more organized, it helps when I want to stop one task and do something else for a while. I just flip through until I see one that isn’t finished.