Luxury, Power, Technology, Comfort, Appeal and Self Respect!

As our family continued to grow, we realized we would need another vehicle that would accommodate that fact on top of many other wants and needs that we had. We find that so many families are too quick to dismiss self image and join the mini van club. As if this is the only thing that can accommodate the needs of a growing family or the gathering of groceries.

Monica and I have been looking for a vehicle over the past 2 years that would not be a mini van but also not be a huge monstrosity of an SUV. Monica being vertically challenged could only see over the dashboards of very few vehicles. She did not want anything that was excessively large but would also include enough towing capacity to pull a larger cabin cruiser (that was naturally my need LOL). Not many options fell within this criteria. You have your Yukons, Suburbans, Crew Cabs, Navigators, Escalades, Explorers and a few other super large SUV's that could pull over 7,500 lbs but unfortunately for us, they would not fit in the garage and we felt the quality just was non existent without an absurd price increase.To be open minded, we looked at all these vehicles just to make sure it was not what we wanted. We even looked into Audis, Porsche, BMW, Infinity and Lexus and the ability to tow 7,500+ lbs was not a feature that was included with these brands

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We had been eyeing the new Dodge Durango for at least 2 years since the 3rd generation new body style dropped. Specifically the 2014 - 2015 Dodge Durango RT because the rear light were (for a lack of better terminology) BAD ASS. We were looking for black on black with all the options and the Hemi. The problem we ran into was this vehicle is a unicorn. If it existed, we were not finding it anywhere. We would occasionally find a used one or new 2014 for the same price as the brand new ones.

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We were currently in a Hyndai Santa Fe Limited which we loved very much. It was in immaculate shape as this is how we took care of it. We had even customized it with an in dash DVD player with backup camera and 22" custom wheels. We could mirror our iPhones to the 7 inch in dash double din head unit and play Hulu, Netflix or whatever else was of interest. Because we traveled so much for Real Estate photography, this was an essential addition. You can see the full video tour of our 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe limited here. It was our plan to use the money as a down payment on the Dodge Durango RT.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84cU1zT6cn4&w=640&h=360]

We were on our way home from Panama City Beach when a teenager immediately pulled out from a side street  in front of us. There was no room to react fast enough to avoid the collision. We T boned the mid 80's F-150 in the rear drivers side tire. Thank the Lord that everyone was ok. Even the Hyundai (while looking quite bad) was still running smoothly. After exchanging info and having the police write up a report, we drove back to Atlanta.

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It took 2 months to go through the typical bullshit you get from an insurance company. After 2 weeks of going back and forth with GEICO, we went up to their office to get a check for $14,000. About 10 minutes into our meeting they look at us and say "we have some bad news". Apparently in Florida you only are required to have a minimum of 10,000 in property damage which would not cover the value of our vehicle. GEICO could only cut us a check for that.

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After immediately walking out we contacted our own insurance company Nationwide. Talk about being put through the ringer with GEICO, it was worse with Nationwide. They did not want to give us the value of our vehicle. They came in at $11,000 which was $3,o00 less then what GEICO was willing to pay before they realized their clients were underinsured. Long story short, I had to provided more documents to back the value until we eventually got the price up to $13,000. Lets just say it made Monica cry how evil both insurance companies were about this process. I honestly do not know how people that work in that industry sleep at night.

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But after all that, we always try to look on the bright side of any situation, and the luck of it all is we were in a position to now get our current dream vehicle! The 2015 Dodge Durango RT! We originally were looking for a Citadel, because it was chromed out and super sexy looking but came to find from our buying experience at Chrysler, Dodge Jeep of Gwinnett that we could have everything we were looking for in the RT! It was black on black leather with red stitching and red embroidered RT seats. This is the most sexy, masculine piece of SUV on the road period. It even has the black out 20" rims and sub in the trunk from the factory! The rear end looks like something out of the movie TRON.

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We were amazed at how much technology this car had. You could locate the lowest price gas station, or see what is playing at the movies with the in dash technology Uconnect system. Heated and cooled seats with heated steering wheel. You have 2 settings on the seat that would adjust the seat to each driver, but not only that, it would adjust the seat, radio, temperature settings and all that you wanted to program to match the driver! The dash is equiped with a 7inch customizable dash cluster. When you set the cruise control, you can set a 1 to 5 car length distance so when a vehicle in front begins to brake, so does the Durango. It will come to a complete stop and start back up to speed with traffic all on cruise control. You just have to hold the steering wheel! Don't forget the power lift gate, easy third row access, keyless entry and remote start.

For safety the Durango includes many aspects like blind spot warning, backup camera with sensors, front end sensors with brake assist. The brake assist is a very cool feature. Lets say that same kid pulls out in front of us again. The Durango will instantly brake faster then your brain can react to aid in avoiding a collision.

Now, I could go on and on about the technology they put in this beauty but the Dodge website does a great job already, so check out this link to see what else is included (click the image)

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Our wish list did not originally include all this technology, but it was super cool to find out it was included with the Durango. We were looking for something that would seat more than 4 to 5 people, without taking the dreaded MINI-VAN path! The Durango could seat 6 to 7 passengers. In addition to that we needed something that could tow a cabin cruiser, to continue the "dream!" The Durango has a towing capacity of 7,400 lbs. This proved to pull a 25 foot Regal Windows Express cabin cruiser quite well! With Standard Trailer Sway Control+ applies brake pressure on alternating wheels and may adjust engine throttle to help eliminate sway and maintain vehicle and trailer system stability.

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To pull a boat that size you need power. Well the 5.7 liter Hemi has power and an exhaust sound that will make any dude smile like a joker! As Dodge would say "So don't do it. With the Dodge Durango, you're getting the triple threat of Best-in-Class power+, towing capacity+ and standard fuel economy of 25 highway mpg+. You're getting a vehicle that doesn't wait around for anyone or anything. It's the left lane or bust."

  • 360-HP 5.7L HEMI® V8 Engine with Fuel Saver Technology and 390 LB-FT of Torque
  • Performance Steering and Sport Suspension (Lowered 20mm)
  • Class-Exclusive 20-Inch Hyper Black Aluminum Wheels+
  • Dual Rear Exhaust with Bright Tips
  • High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlamps with Black Bezels

The moral of the story is you no longer have to settle, sell out, ride the mainstream, lower self worth by driving a mini van. You can have your cake and eat it too. We love our new 2015 Dodge Durango RT. You need to check it out for yourself. Smiles per gallon baby! Now we are officially a Mopar family!

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Need more? This is a great video covering the Durango RT

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6nVQd4q8m8&w=640&h=360]


Another Apple Experience: Restoring the Faith

So I would like to preface this with a little history on my relationship with Apple. After college I got my first Power Book, and it was amazing! It was my first step into total conversion, even rebirth of belief about what a computer should be capable of, and what it is capable of! I was used to a PC and the pains of crashing, slow processing and your typical viruses. It seemed as if every year my PC needed a doctor's appointment.

I am a photographer and graphic and web designer, and I need a machine that works the way I do, with precision, determination and generally like a WORK HORSE!

After running my PowerBook for ten years I was faced with an issue on the hard drive not responding. I went to Apple to see what they could do, and since it was such an old computer we (the consultant and I) came to the ultimate decision that it didn't owe me anything, I had gotten everything out of it I could and the best option at that point was to upgrade to the Macbook Pro

I was excited about this new machine and how it would allow me to progress in my work, so I jumped in like an excited child into the ball pen at McDonald's! I brought both my new and old laptops home, and was getting myself acclimated to the new system. While I was working on the new machine, I was also playing around with the old one in an effort to pull information from it, as no one wants to lose what they have on their old computer. Low and behold, my old PowerBook started up! It was a miracle and I contemplated returning the new machine, but this new piece of equipment was so beautiful and extremely fast. I just couldn't let it go! From a cost analysis standpoint, the amount of time the new Mac was able to save me would essentially be a pay raise on the time I lost from outdated technology. But in any case it's always good to have two machines... best to have a backup for anything that is important in life (including my work!).

In addition to the two Mac laptops I now had, I decided to purchase an old tower from the AJC where I was working. Because oddly they were transitioning away from Apple, the first in what I consider many of the AJC's BAD decisions. But in any case it worked out cause I now had another machine to use for backup needs. It was a Mac G4 dual 500 that needed a little tender loving care, i.e. a new hard drive, memory and a few other updates. But luckily I had a good friend, and Apple tech from the AJC that pimped the machine.

From this point, we then added the Time Capsule as storage was going to be a MUST! With the Time Capsule I was able to network all the computers in the house in addition to utilizing a 2.5 terabytes of wireless external storage while at home or in my office. A beautiful thing!

But this is not it! Both my wife and I have iPhones as well. Monica started with the first generation iPhone (I was unsure about it, as anyone would be with the first model of any product), so we tested it out. It was awesome! It wasn't long before I got one myself. And of course we have both since upgraded to newer versions.

The Apple obsession doesn't end there, I decided to turn it into a cool collection of Mac products. I was able to barter for an old school iMac lamp shade. We had to upgrade it with a WiFi card, yes it's that old! But once we installed that, this puppy is another great machine we use in our kitchen and sometimes living room where we can access iTunes from the Time Capsule, and surf the web for recipes and anything we have questions about!

And the history continues as we just purchased a new 13'' MacBook Pro for Monica a few months ago! So currently we own 3 Mac Laptops, one tower, one old school iMac, and two iPhones. I know we aren't the only ones with this many Apple products, but its become like an obsession, and a true collection of amazing products.

Anyway, the point of this post is coming I promise! My wife and I have truly become loyal customers of Apple, and when you develop that kind of investment into a company there is a relationship that builds. And both sides need to invest at least somewhat equally into that relationship!

So, when my MacBook's logic board pooped out on me a second time (this computer is only 2 years old), I immediately went to Apple with a high expectation of quality service. As many of you may already know, you have to schedule an appointment to work with the "Geniuses" in the Apple store and I did exactly that. And as I predicted, they diagnosed the computer and the Logic Board was done. Now I worked this computer hard as I have with all of my Mac's and it was plausible that I could have just run it out. 80 hours a week is not a rare expectation of time spent on this computer. But a resolution needed to be found, as this is my work we were talking about.

Initially I was being quoted for service on the MacBook to be about $400 to $500 to transfer the data and replace the logic board. I was prepared to do this as what are my options really? I have to have this computer for work!? Well I started to think about this and how much money we have already invested in Apple and all their products and the fact that it has to be a give and take situation! So I continued to discuss the issue with the consultants at the store and we came to the conclusion that I might get a little further with the Apple Care Customer Relations. So I sat in the store and called Apple Care Customer Relations and was on the phone with them for about an hour. I spoke with one girl, who like all the employees of Apple, was super genuine and as sweet as the next. Always understanding and trying to do all they can to help make the situation right.

I think Apple does a spectacular job when it comes to hiring highly trained, qualified, passionate about mac, people who are there to help you. They genuinely care about you and that you leave satisfied. If one person was not able to help me, the service did not stop there. That person would direct me to another person who had more power and vise versa. Eventually after dealing with 3 people and 2 hours total time invested, I was able to save myself $500 and re-instill my faith in APPLE because they were giving me a 100% warranty on the product.

They decided the right thing to do was to provide me service under warranty, and so they were going to be sending me a box with instructions to ship my Macbook to them! I was surprised just how nice the box was with detailed instructions on how to place the computer into the box. It came with pre cut tape and custom sized padding to hold the computer. For a minute I almost thought the box would make for a great new brief case but I felt the cardboard was a bit less to be desired, lol.

I connected with Gary Dailey, of Daystar Technology, who migrated the data to Monica's computer as I would need a computer to work on in the meantime.

I shipped the computer with full details about what needed to be fixed and not only did they fix those necessary things, they did more! And at no cost to me, but a little time!

Check out this wrap sheet of issues that they resolved! No questions, just fix it up and get it back to the customer!

If you are still on a PC, it is my personal experience and professional recommendation you switch to Apple. You will understand why, only after you do so. Here is a quote from the biography of Steve Jobs that I am presently reading. Apply to this theory, the amount of times your PC has crashed, not booted up, blue screened, gotten a virus, froze up or just broke. Imagine the lives we could save in time!


Anniversary Weekend: We Love You MacBook Pro

This is definitely a Happy Anniversary to US both! While I have been grovelling for a new Mac for some time now (since I have been working from a 12 year old Mac Power Book), this brand new MacBook Pro will be a gift that both Paul and I will cherish for years to come.

It will not only help me not to go bald (tearing my hair out with the PowerBook), but it will allow me to help Paul with his business sites, and me to BLOG which has become a new addiction of mine.

And of course I'm finding so many things to talk about, including this fabulous Anniversary Gift! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH Paul Paul! I love you and together with this awesome new machine, we will embark on our second year of marriage with excitement and pleasure! Hehe And I know we will do so many great things together for years to come.

You have to check this baby out, isn't she a beauty (yes, she is a she, because she is magnificent). Maybe Paul and I should give her a name! Maybe Anni - short for Anniversary?? I know it's cheesy, but isn't that what Anniversaries are all about??

Definitely stay tuned, cause we have a lot more to come with a  weekend full of fun!


Super Cool New FaceBook Timeline Developer Release! Check it out!

 

This is a super cool new Timeline Developer Release! You have to set it up to be able to view FaceBook in a timeline format. Only those that set this up can see other's Facebook in this format.

It's really cool! You can hone in on certain dates in the timeline to see pictures, posts and comments, etc. Definitely worth checking out! Click Here to access details about set-up...


Interesting Read: Facebook Unveils New Customizable, 'Smart' Friends Lists

With Smart lists, Facebook will automatically group all your college or high school friends into "school" lists, or put all your co-workers into the "work" list. If Facebook makes a mistake or you don't want someone in that group, you can add or delete them manually.

Click here to read the full article!


This Is A Very Cool Concept!

This is a very cool concept! Check it out! Rolltop