Category Archives: Arizona

Decade in the Desert: A new user’s guide to haltse 2017 update

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Filed under Anarchy from the UK, Arizona

2017

Updated for Mar 2017.

Biggest changes in past few years.  After leaving Go Daddy took a year , plus off to watch daughter grow up,   bought a franchise which turned out to be bad timing re illness , family matters , etc so I ended up going back to work, this time for  P.F. Chang’s / Pei Wei which makes Asian-inspired food. It was nice to work for a company that most people don’t hate: Same kind of work Software Quality assurance but alas my position, along with several others, was ( redacted- )

Having just made contact again with the folks back home in the UK as they come on line with Facebook et all and find that I am still alive, still haven’t changed my name  to , well they don’t even know me as, haltse it’s been obvious that I needed an update post on the things that are interesting in the USA that hasn’t made it over to the UK. There are people that are into Zombies that actually don’t know who Doug Stanhope or Roger Clyne are,  I know, mind blown. 🙂

So here’s a quick list of what I’ve been up to since leaving Scotland back in 1997.

Moved to GA  70 mile NW of Atlanta worked for 2 seasons at tax software co helping cheap people achieve things with hardware that was pushing obsolescence into itself, seriously I edited modem strings, printer files and more CLI DOS work than ever should be attempted with members of the public.

After GA moved to CA  on the eve of the millennium. Took 4 days to move.People in the UK, sorry it’s not a long way down to the chip chop, that’s peanuts to America:)

Yep everyone has been there and I don’t mean on vacation. Not to give it away but Californication was a nice couple of years working for a dot com that turned  b2c b2b  and b2b2c so quickly that it had to fail. Actually,it didn’t fail, people were paid, had jobs for a couple of years and had a lot of fun with nice people while doing it.

Became permanent resident, Marriage failed,  company above was bought by AOL  and I moved to Arizona where I managed to lose the friend I came here to be near ( I’m good at this it’s a motif for my life apparently )

Started working for GoDaddy.com  and lasted 11 years. Started as privately owned, which I liked, ok I only like it if I like the owner which in this case is a good match but  GD was sold to venture capitalists that changed the nature of the Co, and it was time to go. There’s little chance I could have achieved as much in the UK than I have here because,well to be blunt, it’s not a  wait till Friday to get drunk and take Monday off kinda culture. ( not true, probably 1/3 of it is:) )

Met my wifelet, Erin  spawned a Dobhran, and a Hatch, he’s 12 in September 2017 and Hatch, our daughter, joined us July 2012.

All the links to my photo sites, blogs and the like can be found through the sidebar but just in case.

http://flickr.com/photos/haltse

Besides I’m  haltse everywhere that matters🙂

That’s the precis.   And just about all of it is contained somewhere in the posts to this blog.

New likes.

Ice Hockey. I’ve finally found a team sport that I appreciate, or did till I realized how shitty the customer service aspect was.  I still watch it but won’t pay to see the Phoenix Coyotes after they shafted us on playoff tickets.  I still like watching tennis ( mainly the women’s:) ) US tv sucks for motorsport without chasing it down and paying for it. As such not really followed F1 or WSB for a while.

Watches.    Mechanical,  limited and free of marketing bullshit, please. Ochs and Jnr as well as F P Journe are closest to where I want to be but for daily use, it’s hard to beat Sinn.

Hawaii (  only been once, not enough)

Really good food.  Thai Food, Mediterranean food, slow food and I’ve upped my  heat capacity to stupid levels. www.extremefoods.com is my best friend:)  How bad is it?  Well, I collect hot sauces now.

Really good cooking ( I do some things well, Erin does way more things well but )

Ghost in the Shell.  I want me some cyberisation:)

Photography ( again )

Maintain an interest in things deathy, 

Archery ( beginner)  Traditional bow.

Media, way too much. some highlights http://www.mariancall.com   a singer/songwriter that’s so good that I  donated monthly to  help pay for the recording of  the new album which is something I encourage everyone that cares about any form of art to do.

http://www.richardcheese.com seen him so many times live and it’s never gotten old,  his band kicks ass too.Sadly he went down the route of . If you don’t believe in the same politics as him you’re not welcome..  saved quite a bit of cash there.

, www.mynameischance.com  ,www.freezepop.comhttp://www.amandapalmer.net/  white stripes and I started really liking the Proclaimers and  some weird www.slimcessnasautoclub.com.   Added Amy Macdonald,  found out that as much as I disliked Eminem first time around I realized it was more the people into him that I didn’t like at the time, Regina Spektor, Lindsay Stirling and Halestorm.

R K Morgan : Sci-fi  Altered carbon especially.

Nick Cole : CTRL ALT Revolt

Daniel Keys Moran’s  Continuing time series

William Gibson ,   which I missed when I should have read it.

Neal Stephenson , particularly Snowcrash.

Robert Rankin.

G R R Martin  Game of Thrones series  (patiently waiting)

Grant Morrison ( Invisibles, The Filth and countless DC reinventions. )

Orson Scott Card’s  Ender series.

Heinlein,  yeah I was late to that party but am now in attendance:)

So much non-fiction that it hurts.   Omnivore’s dilemma was good and am currently reading  The Gulag Archipelago , everyone worries about Hitler , Stalin was worse.

Seriously recommend  Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner and
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory

Still Likes.

motorbikes,firearms , tori, but not live too many shitty  experiences with bad venues, actually no, in the case of the Mesa AZ show it was not the venue it was crap mixing and we actually walked out.  NIN, red headed women, Fish, Dick Dale , black pudding , cider  and things that are sharp or light up:)

Things that are meh:)

No more buffets,  fast food is the last choice , always. healthcare  in the US, they can’t think their way out of a problem.  Insurance is the wrong word, they don’t stop to think why an item is expensive , just that they should be able to afford it.

 

More in a bit:)

Time to come back

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Filed under Arizona, Asides

I have never been a good writer,  so much so that prior co-workers/ forum participants have labelled my writing , and indeed my speaking style as a kind of ” haltsese”. I fear that’s never going to change , I have more books on grammar than , well let’s be honest most people don’t seem to have books on anything,let alone grammar, but I fear I fall into the same category as Otto from A fish called Wanda…

Yes they do, Otto. They just don’t understand it.

New interests, new job, same old bullshit:)

My new site Time to Win Me the watch contest site

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Filed under Arizona, Sites of interest, Social Media
Tagged as , ,

Greetings,

Long Time no see. I’ve been busy over at Time to Win ME  which is my watch contest aggregation site.  I try to find at least one watch, watch related or prize being offered by a watch company and then post it to the site,Twitter and Facebook.  Even if you’re not into watches it’s not a bad way to fill out your Christmas gift bag for those that do.

Time to Win Me

Till next Time.

Element update. stuck in the middle with you. Catch 22 , if the honda has a recall we can look, if it doesn’t it can’t be faulty ( Allstate’s logic)

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Filed under Arizona, Bad CS, Honda Element
Tagged as ,

Exhaust remidies for time-being with Honda cust care.   They say that they won’t comment on it, send a person to look or in general car unless the insurance company  claims the part is defective.  The dealer, Arrowhead Honda thinks the same which leaves me in the “good hands” of Allstate.

Allstate so far have proven to be useless. E.G they say that with0ut a recall on 09 there’s no reported brake issues.  Despite the fact I am a paying customer of theirs for years   we’re not, apparently, capable of reporting a dead braking system without warning.  Ergo they won’t investigate which was the case of our last phone call.

We’ve lost a lot of money , or will via the deductibe and increased rates, the car is now a salvage,  the car will lose money when we sell it. We have  failed to get anything remotely like the peace-of-mind that buying a low-milage certified vehicle.

an 09 Honda element may not stop when you want it to. Another certified failure.

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Filed under Arizona, Honda Element
Tagged as , ,

Seems like I didn’t learn my lesson.  A certified car is not a guarantee of a functioning car but of their promise to fix it after the fault shows.  Previously I bought a Honda Civic that was certified  which I had issues with as reported here     After that the car was fine so it came to pass that we bought another Honda, an 09 Element,with the same certification.

That’s nice if you get a chance to take it back to the dealer.

A couple of months old and our Honda Element suffered  a catastrophic brake failure  that resulted in an accident. No warning lights,  just a heavy pedal  on brake once, braked again, got really hard then on the next attempt  to the floor , no brakes and  we now have a sad element and  a sad owner of a CRV that  was the resting place for the Element.  Car hadn’t been back for a service since buying it , e.g., under 2000 miles.

After searching this topic we’ve seen a lot of traffic on  Google  re Accords and the prior year Elements failing in the same way. There’s no recall for 09, unless our car isn’t  really an 09 which would explain why a similar condition would happen to us .  09 Odyssey’s are not exempt from brake-failures  too. Odd that Toyota took so much bashing last year over  what amounted to nothing.

We’re at the start of this process but regardless of what  the dealer/ Honda say this < 2000 mile since certification vehicle was not fit for it’s intended use.

Mini Cooper kept mum. So what if our manual is incorrect. no keys for you

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Filed under Anarchy from the UK, Arizona, Bad CS, General
Tagged as

Alas the possibility that a car company could do anything other than suck at customer relations remains as rare as rocking-horse poop.While everyone understands our position and regrets they can’t do more  the fact is the Mini Cooper manual says that the car can’t start without the keys in it.

Mini dealers and the Mini helpline say it can.  Ergo you lost they key and you need to buy a new one.  No one is concerned that the car starts without a key in it which is rather alarming. It’s not alarming the car didn’t give a warning that there was no key.

So what we have here is  a car that can be started sans keys  in the car. It looks like any elevation of the key greatly increases the distance at which the car can be unlocked and driven away and the sun roof is likely a big factor. So for fun some experiments will follow.

P.S. Letting us buy the key at cost was rejected. Ok  so for the sake of losing NO money. Result. That’s one less 2012 Clubman sold plus  way more public noise about their customer relations being poor.  Nice going  Mini.

This family thing, it’s a brand.  while they hadn’t fooled me with their story I would have expected they’d at least pretend that they were able to do anything than quote manuals ( incorrectly ) 😛  to me.

PPS Anthony’s managers  You have no fucking brains. Seriously  what the hell makes it in your interest to deny a reasonable request ( key replacement at cost) based on your erroneous manual which   some telephone dick told me to go read and understand.  What happened to, ah  I see that’s in error , let me find out rather than being a total  cock about it?

an Inconvenient access truth. More about mini cooper s FOB :

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Filed under Arizona, Bad CS, General
Tagged as

First they tell me to read the manual,  you know cos I’m not as cute,or as fast, as a Mini and am more likely to be in error. Well let’s look around page 24-25 ( close to it)

mini manual

Is there any doubt here that the car should not start when the  key is not in the car, when the key is  five feet away from the car?  Well the helpline , I eventually got to a manager, and asked them to consider that they could be owe me a new key / serious price break on the $300 item because their car is not working as stated. 

That was a few days ago.  

An interesting time with the Mini Cooper’s “convenience” key

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Filed under Arizona, Bad CS, General
Tagged as

The last car we bought was a Mini Cooper S which I see as the car that makes up for all the regular Minis I drove,you know the ones with a fixed L shaped seat, rusting sills, 10” wheels  sliding mirrors, no heater worth a damn etc.

The “new” car ,a 2007 Cooper S, came with a remote key and what’s called a convenience feature in which you do not have to put your key into the slot to start it. E.G.,It can stay in your pocket , your bag or attached to a purse.

Common belief is that the car won’t start without the key being inside the car.  Sadly , as we found out this weekend, that is not the case.  My wife left her purse atop the pump, got in ,  door closed, started car and drove off.   ( ended up having to get a ride then break into the house)

The car gave zero warning that key wasn’t within the car and  20 miles later, car turned off and couldn’t start it again.

No keys , no movement , no nothing!   This is not the behavior I want from a car so I called the local Mini dealer, 2 days after they failed to return my wife’s call , to find out what the parameters of the  keyless start are.  I also sent a note to Mini asking the same.

So far nothing from Mini and an unhelpful  “you’re the only one in 3000-4000 customers to have this problem.”  from the dealer  and an offer to look at it which I will have to take them up  on.

I really want to know why the car wont let you lock it with the key inside, assumption that it knows where the key is in relation to the car, yet will let it drive off without one being present. Surely that’s not that  hard a question for the  people that sell it/ make it?  

   Couple that to the Airbag system that can be harmed just by moving your seat back and it looks like the  LUCAS lord of darkness joke re the state of UK auto electrical  systems has jumped over into the BMW made Mini.

Marian Call. House concert in Chandler 23 Jun 2010.

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Filed under Arizona, Culture-internet, Marian Call

Here’s a hint.

I am so late doing this I’m practically ashamed.  E.G,   The house only holds about 40 people and , well you think hell 40 people that’s easy Probably so easy that telling everyone would lead to a lot of disappointed folks which I’m still aiming for:)

 

49to50-Announcement

Marian Call delivers whimsical Alaskan folk funk for the Coffee Counter-Culture. She sounds a little like Joni Mitchell & Regina Spektor raising the child of Jason Mraz & Erin McKeown. Call’s sound is always soulful, honest, and clever, loved by all types — computer geeks, church ladies, teenage thugs, NPR listeners, and urban hipsters worldwide. Marian is currently touring all 50 states and hopes to play for you soon — find more information at http://mariancall.com.

If you like what you hear  then how about hearing it live, like two days from now?

Reading Cyrano

When we originally requested a house concert it seemed plausible. laughably in hindsight, that we could accommodate this at our house.  Thankfully friend and  fellow fan Mandi stepped in to save the day and for this Phoenix and surrounding areas  all you have to do is leave your house on a Wednesday night and come out for live music. 

 

RSVP to

mandi  AT neuroticbynature.com

For details on where to go, what to bring and how much fun you are going to have.

Yet another CL scam and why I hate affiliate programs that don’t vet their agents.

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Filed under Arizona, Culture-internet, rants

There should be a show were people that fight computer crime use guns, baseball bats and other implements of destruction on the detritus that try to scam the populace.

I’m selling a car,trying to,presently on Craigslist which leads to the kind of interactions with people I’d rather not have. People that are possibly worse to deal with than car sales types.

Apart from the usual people that want to buy the car for $1000 less than posted without even looking it over, those that want to come tell you why it’s crap and that they don’t like the brand, those that want to buy it for a college student and expect a six year old car to carry the kind of guarantee that a new one would etc  and  the most interesting?  A ,can I politely say, less than  mentally capable person that doesn’t –even- have a driving license showing up at the door at 2130 ( 9 30  at night for those of you that can’t add twelve) unannounced that we didn’t give the address out to which is kind of spooky. Not a fan of this guy to say the least.

I still have the car and some information on a new scheme/scam.  Person mails me, asks some info and to arrange to see car.I send it. They then say oh prior to me coming out can I get some idea of the auto insurance via this site.  Auto insurance tips dot com,but the link went to tamiesunshine144 .blogspot . com and then redirected with the affiliate ID to the insurance site.  E.G., trolling for affiliate commissions.

CL is turning in Ebay and it’s usefulness is only possible when using a third party to search it when you are looking for something specific though as a means of exposing yourself to jerks it’s first class.

A close Call with some Dick Cheese.A two concert weekend.

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Filed under Arizona, Culture-internet, reviews
Tagged as ,

We saw Marian Call on Saturday night perform a full set. The show was to benefit Wild horse Ranch Rescue in Gilbert. For once it’s a charity I can get behind as you can see the work they do, and the effects of it  in person, or horse if you want to be picky.

For the entrance charge of $20 we got a ceramic bowl, filled with our choice of chili or minestrone , a Marian Call CD and the concert itself. This is what’s known as a bargain.

I would like to be the first to say that objectivity is hard for me with regards to talented women with red hair. ( Don’t worry Tori you’re safe I just expanded the category to living in USA, not living in USA)

Hearing “100 easy ways to lose a man” live was an unexpected treat as it’s probably the best use of her voice when not singing her own work.

I rather cheekily , I hope not dickishly, suggested about her new song “Karaoke” that “Jonathan Coulton called and would like the song back” but it’s really good  and had the kind of comedic build up that I love within some of his songs. A duet would rock because I think the voices would mix really well  without someone needing to  fit paul and storm with tighter underwear:)

The new road song was really good and I am totally spacing on the name of the guitarist that accompanies her but damn he’s good.  This was an awesome evening that even I’m not going to take the time to poke fun at the more surreal aspects of the evening at least tonight;)

The Cheeseman he cometh

Creddy and myself are big fans of the work of Mark Jonathan Davis  and his best known creation Richard Cheese  “Tomorrow’s standards today”  While I’m not a fan of the venue or the way the VIP tickets were handled it was like every other Cheese show we’ve been to. Musically awesome ( I could watch “Bobby Ricotta” goof around all night) with the real show being the audience participation between a set we’ve seen 2.5 times prior.

Guess what when he comes back later in the year we’ll be there too.

Given the star wars geekery from  his other works and the pseudonymous singer I’m still surprised that the audience has yet to be invited out for milk and wookies.

An idea : Would the correct term for an older cougar be sabre-toothed tiger?

April and Changing minds.

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Filed under Arizona, Culture-internet, Demon Haunted World, Freedom

It’s been rather quiet around here lately. I admit that my formal ahderence to grammar has been quixotic, at best, my attempts to rectifying this situation  results in posts that sound like material I want to read. Maybe that’s why so many people vlog?

The differences between UK and US grammar are apparently slight enough to not catch the same break that people learning English as a second language are allowed.I’m realistic enough to know that  it will have a nominal effect on the reason that I began which neatly segues into my next point.

Is anyone still naive enough to believe that the powers that be just need a well crafted note pointing out were they are deficient and how they are hurting people will change their way?  Hardly.  In short they are not your audience.

Unfortunately that leaves the public.

Oh wait Is anyone still naive enough to believe that the public  just need a well crafted sitcom showing  were they are deficient and how they are hurting people  by refusing to take ownership of their lives?   Hardly.

In short they are not your audience.

Much easier to remain quiet.

A new entry to my cynics dictionary. locavore

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Filed under Arizona, Culture-internet, rants, reality

Locavore:  food so expensive that you can’t afford private transportation.

How stupid are the media? Let’s take a look at unquestioning coverage of the Brady center’s logic free assertions.

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Filed under Arizona, rants, reality, state gone wild, You have nothing to fear

I am puzzled. I’ve been tearing apart, on a local newspaper forum, the lie that you are more likely to be injured by your own gun in the house by an intruder than being able to successfully defend yourself with it. Not just a little likely but an insane ratio like 43 or more to 1. On the face of it you know their argument is 100% shit. How can it not be?

We know how many people are shot breaking into houses, we know how many of them failed to carry out the seemingly easy step of disarming the homeowner and then , and this is the part I don’t get, successfully using a gun against the hapless fool who bought the thing.

  • If it’s so hard to use why are the criminals preternaturally good at it? 
  • Where are all the dead bodies from this 43-1 ratio?
     
    Ok that’s a little scene setter and if you care to read up on the real stats, how the original bullshit number came into “popular culture” the info is here. It’s a lot of reading re the defensive use of firearms and the relative risk of them being used on you. I refer you to John Lott’s seminal work on the topic. 
  • And more here. http://en.wikipedia.org/ikw… which has faults pro and con re his work.

    The myth that your own gun is more dangerous to you than not having one is on the face of it absurd but people have taken the time to refute the origin of this case. “protection or peril an analysis of firearm-related deaths in the home” where the original 43 times more likely figure the VPC uses. Its’ not an easy thing to sum up in a paragraph other than htt://guncite.com/gun-contp... has material from the original study author, Kellermann, that acknowledges errors in his initial work.
    Later work suggests that it’s a 65-2 ratio http://www.saf.org/LawRevie… in favour of the armed:. Seem believable? The daily info is out there, story after story of self defense use

    Let’s get back to today’s bullshit from the Brady bunch.

    “Mexican criminals, and traffickers who supply them, cannot get the guns they need in Mexico because of Mexico’s strong gun laws,” Brady Center President Paul Helmke said in a news conference. But in border states Texas and Arizona, he argued, weaker gun laws provide easy access to a significant supply of high-powered arms.

    Spot the logical error? Because it’s illegal to get guns in Mexico ,you know their strong gun laws that prevent them getting gun, they get them in the USA to bring back to Mexico where those amazingly strong rules appear to have headed out for a siesta. 

    (BTW it’s illegal for a non resident of the border states to buy them without transferring them to an FFL) Since when did a fucking drug cartel get all civic minded and sentimental about paperwork?

    Also what’s this bullshit re “high powered arms” relative to what? It’s emotive , unchecked, tripe and irrelevant without context much like the organization that spawned it. Yep all that research and I end up on an ad hominem attack.

    Honda Certified used cars. They don’t actually have to be certifiable at time of sale. Superstition Springs Honda and the paranormal.

    2
    Filed under Arizona, Bad CS, Family

    I believe I have a candidate for James Randi’s  million dollar prize.  The prize   awarded

    “to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.”

    could be won in Arizona.The unlikely candidate is Honda of Superstition Springs , after all the name fits nicely, for claiming that a car  certified as having passed Honda’s 150 point test managed to be incapable of passing it at the time I purchased it. During the time the car sat on the lot it lost these abilities  with no human intervention.

    • rear high level brake light. Absent and wiring hanging lose (88. Brake lights)
    • rear speakers that didn’t work. (103. Audio system—radio/CD/cassette, speaker operation)
    • Fuel release cap that didn’t work. (127. Fuel door release)
    • and an interior bulb that was out. (123. Interior lights—switch/door operation)

    Which doesn’t reconcile well with.

    “We’ve taken the headache out of used car research by doing the homework for you. So when you choose a Honda Certified Used Vehicle, rest easy knowing it passes more than just a 150-point inspection. It passes our strict standards as well.”

    Honda’s strict standards  are letting the dealer certify it and in case of a dispute passing on what the dealer would be willing to do. They seem to have  little purpose other than to be a heat sink. Throughout the process the weasel apologies of “we’re sorry you feel that way”  began to grate. In short as long as the car is fixed afterwards they are happy. 

    Not sorry it happens, not sorry they can’t do anything about it but just sorry that someone actually fell for their line of BS.

    After certification the car sat on the lot over 100 days and during that time  the above items are meant to have changed condition.  This is why they should be going after that million dollar prize  because I’ve yet to see a tail light, wiring and fixture separate themselves from a housing and then hide. 

    The speakers are unlikely to have failed  but Chris ,general manager, said the didn’t at the time check those just the main function not per speaker. I had pointed out the poor wiring and asked them to check it prior to purchase, they said they had. So even if they missed it on the first occasion  there’s little excuse for the second.

    The light bulb certainly could have blown any time  and the fuel release? It’s doubtful as they filled the gas prior to the delivery and it had to be self evident that people were needed to open it up.

    Morris @ Honda USA is unconcerned with this state of affairs and doesn’t  see any incongruity between the quoted  paragraph above from the Honda site and my experience.  

    The remedy took 8 hours of waiting,as  they didn’t, actually wouldn’t, give me a loan car and it was claimed it would only take two hours  on the first occasion.  In the end two 60 mile round trips were needed.

    All they had to do, take car, get me to work/ back and return it in the condition they advertised it as .  Annoying, yes  but livable.  Sadly that wasn’t the case.

    I believe the cars price was influenced by the certified program and that inherent in that offer was the reasonable expectation that  all of the items on the provided list were functioning at time of purchase. Seemingly that’s not the case and Honda appears to  value the delivery condition as being valueless but backed up by their valuable warranty.

    The dealer believes that no breach of the contract was evident which is a matter I disagree on.  Had the car worked as advertised I would not be out 10 hours of time. Apart from offering a paint warranty which I didn’t want  ( retail about$400 but practically free to them) and a future loan car they consider the matter closed.

    The take away from this is that you should not expect a car from a Honda  certified used program to be in the condition advertised  and why should you? Apparently  Honda and at least one dealership believes  as long as it’s fixed you should be grateful.