Classic Car = Midlife Crisis? I don’t think so…

Classic cars for sale

So, I’m doing it. I’m biting the bullet. I’m sick of driving around in this piece of junk 1994 Honda Civic.

Why would I do that to myself? Why would I put myself through the misery of being a… well… LOSER???

I’m not going to do it any more. There’s just no point to it! It’s time to get myself a REAL car. The kind of car that makes women go weak at the knees.

I want to be THE MAN. I want to be the king of Chicago.

But I’m not. And I never will be in a 1994 Civic.

No woman EVER swooned over a Civic.

So, I’ve started doing some looking around. I’ve started investigating what’s available and how much I’m going to need to borrow if I’m going to actually get behind the wheel of a sleek piece of machinery.

The really surprising thing is that it’s FAR less than I imagined.

I had images in my head of having to fork out $30k+ for a sweet ride but I don’t! You can get something really decent for less than $10k.

I’ve had a look at some websites. Classic Cars had a lot of great stuff but it was almost too overwhelming. There are so many options in there.

The classic cars for sale on Prestige Classic Cars were VERY impressive. I spent about an hour going through every photo, one by one, and salivating like a fat kid in a candy store, until I realised they were located in Australia.

I should have guessed by the steering wheel on the right hand side but it turns out that I’m not that smart.

Yes, I know. It’s as big a shock to me as it is to you.

So, the search continues. I’ve talked to the bank about getting finance and they seem pretty happy to provide it. I’ve got a good credit rating and enough cash in the back to make a solid deposit so there’s no problem there.

It’s just the job thing that I really have to take care of.

So, anyone reading this ever got a vintage car before? Any tips? Anything I should be looking out for? Are there any kinds of scams that sellers might try and pull when an enthusiastic newbie turns up on their door step with a wad of cash and no idea what to do with it?

Id you’ve been through this before, please let me know so I don’t fall into any of the classic traps.

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Chicago’s Tech Scene

Being a Web Developer, I’ve really taken a keen interest in the whole tech scene in Chicago. At first, I didn’t think I’d find much, but boy was I surprised! Apparently, Chicago’s tech scene is alive and kicking, it’s just not as “high profile” as say, Silicon Valley. But lots of up and coming startups started right here in Chicago.

One of the most popular apps who claim their humble beginnings in Chicago, is Groupon. Groupon is pretty much a deal of the day app, where their users get discounts based on what they’re promoting. Their whole team is great because they’ve found a way to give back to the tech industry in Chicago by starting the “Chicago Ideas Week”, which strengthens the community and encourages investing.

One of the founders, Brad Keywell, had this to say : “The pace of startups being founded in Chicago is moving faster than ever, with 195 companies started in 2014 according to data that Built in Chicago shared with me. That’s about double what it was two years ago. We’ve also seen exits (acquisitions, mergers, IPOs) at almost four times the rate they were two years ago. With a new digital startup every 48 hours, we’re in the game and building our own unique global tech hub.”

That sounds really awesome to me, and is a great opportunity for all developers, so it seems I made a great choice by moving here!
I personally believe that one of the greatest challenges that the city faces isn’t finding talent; I mean, they have top ranked business schools, design schools and excellent computer science programs. The problem is but them here and preventing them from running away to one of the more “glamorous” cities.

There’s tonnes of potential in Chicago, and even the government knows this. Usually you wouldn’t find the public sector interfering with the private sector, but both the mayor’s office and the state government of Illinois are super engaged with the community and encourage a very tech-friendly environment. Not to mention the government backed, early venture fund which has been pretty integral to the development of the tech scene.

One of the best events for techies is their New Year’s event called the “Entrepreneurs Eve” which is this great gathering of amazing entrepreneurs, politicians and business leaders. They all make great toasts and have lots of fun. One of the featured teams this year was Digital Exits, they’re website brokers who happened to help a lot of people make tonnes of money last year. I bet they were so stoked. I’m definitely gonna get tickets to go next year. It looks like a lot of fun. Not to mention, all the proceeds go to the H Foundation, which aids cancer research.

entrepreneurs eve

All in all, I’m really glad I moved here. And even though Chicago does take a bit of getting used to, it’s good to know that I’ve definitely got a future here, because the tech scene is alive and kicking.

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Food

steak

I was originally planing to make a post about differences in food, quality, marking of the food and so on but…

I am more blown away by all the different kinds of cuisine in a single city. I am not here very long time and I have already met people who moved here from all over the world. I have already seen Greek restaurants, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Polish, Korean, Pakistani, Indian, Mexican, French and many more. While I have not eaten on all those places I was guided to what was described to me as one of the best steakhouses in town and I have to say, I am definitely going back there again.

So far I didn’t find an American beer that matches my desires but the quest continues, and fear not my dear readers for I will try every last one of them. Most probably multiple times.

Now onto junk food. There is a huge choice of cheap snacks everywhere, I am actually surprised how people stay so slim when spying onto what things they are buying in the stores. Couple of days ago I literally saw a grown man buying all kinds of Doritos, Chips, Pretzels, Zoots, Ding Dongs, Ho Ho’s, Peanutbutter bars, rolo’s, m and m’s. Oh and lots of juice, probably just to be able to wash down all of that sugar, with liquid sugar.

The important thing is that there is wide range of choices here which is amazing, and people can buy whatever their heart desire. Lets just hope their hearts can handle it.

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Addiction

smartphone

Ah the wonders of technology. Since I arrived here I noticed one crucial thing. It is impossible for me to be outside and not see someone on the smartphone. What is up with that? Its like everyone is addicted to staying in contact and tweeting every single thing they see. “lol, i just saw a bird!”

On to the television, everyone seems to have a cinema size TV’s in their living room, when its turned on I feel like I should walk into another apartment so I could see all of the content being shown at once. Everything is really big in America I’ll give you that. Not only cars, roads, buildings but people too. Just the other day I got called a skinny British **** by a lady so overweight she have to drive around in a little car designed for disabled people… I am currently overweight by the UK standards.

pills The commercials here are rather strange too. They advertise all kind of drugs and recommend you go get them right away from the nearest pharmacy. Since when commercials know what kind of medicine is good for you, and what kind of medicine should you mix? People are swallowing antidepressants like tic tacs, tweeting, calling, always in rush and always under surveillance. What the hell, there’s like 7 cameras pointed at me at any given time of the day. And the weirdest things are those flying little quadrotors. Living here sometimes feels like being part of a setup for a futuristic movie.

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Broken Bones

hospital

So couple of weeks ago I got hit by a crazy taxi driver who decided to just keep going afterwards. That was the worst lunch brake I’ve ever taken. Several things happened that I noticed later.

First of all, no one tried to assist me or help me move so I wouldn’t block the road. Like what the hell is with that? Since I arrived I learned people are suing each other in this country for absolutely everything but I mean come on. Who would sue a guy for helping you limp couple of feet so you can sit down and wait for medical assistance? Its just plain weird.

The paramedics arrived pretty quickly and placed me nice and cozy in back of their van, checked everything and asked questions. When I’m recalling it now it feels as if it was a movie. That could be just because of all the stuff doctors ended up pumping me with… when I finally got my turn. The hospital in Chicago was crowded, there were so many hurt people ahead of me that I had to wait in line as if I was waiting for concert tickets. Doctors and nurses were running everywhere, people moaning, it seemed as if there some huge accident.

Anyway they did patch me up and I did get a bed to rest on, eventually. The most horrifying thing happened  afterwards though, I shall remember it for the rest of my life. The hospital bill.

There’s a great chance it would have been cheaper to fly me to UK, patch me up, fly me back here and save some money.

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Money

money

One of the things that were confusing to me straight away as I arrived were prices. I land and go to the store to get a bottle of water, which lets say its written costs 99 cents. So I give one dollar to the cashier and I’m told I need to give more money. I didn’t even bother to ask, I was tired and I wanted to take a nap more than anything.

burnsNext time I went shopping I learned that in America stores quote prices without sales tax, so it is practically impossible to know how much anything is going to cost you until you get to the register. Which makes no sense to me and all it really does is fill up my wallet with coins and confuses the hell out of me.

The lovely thing about the states is that gas costs are low, very low. First time I went to fill up I thought the meter was broken. Now whenever I fill up I think about illegally transporting fuel to UK and laugh maniacally while striking mr. Burns pose.

The last thing I would like to touch upon money wise are tips. What’s with all the tips? You have to tip everyone, everywhere, and you never know how much is proper to give. I suppose I will eventually get better in math having to calculate tax and tips every single day to know how much I am about to spend. I just have to figure out if every person living here is a math genius, or perhaps they have memorized real prices of all products they buy.

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Arrival

arrival

As with every relocation the first and most important thing to do is find a new home.

The company I work for provided me with a temporary location for a month until I locate a great apartment. Problem being, I am new in the city and I’ve no idea where I am at any point in time or which way I am suppose to go. I’ve located couple of interesting apartments with not too shabby of a price and went to a search through this jungle of a town, all I can say is thank god for google maps.

What I’ve noticed here is that people are always in an insane rush, as if something was on fire. I don’t just mean people walking fast as hell on the street and acting all nervous and jumpy. As I arrived to the first apartment I was interested in I was welcomed by a furious lady who was very upset that I was 5 minutes late, while I was honestly happy I found it at all. Anyway she began promoting the place right away and speaking very quickly, nearly running from room to room, so I asked if she could slow down a bit so I could “absorb” the place. The answer was no and I got practically thrown out of place because new potential customers were coming. Who could decide if they would want to live in a place for several years by given only couple of minutes to look at it?

In any case over the next couple of weeks I have slowly gotten introduced with the city streets and even found a new cozy flat not too far from work. It was more expensive then I hoped for but location and comfort are on first place for me. Perhaps the big selling point was that the gentleman offering the place ended his promotion with “Take as long as you like to look around.”.

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