silver airconditioning duct

Story of the Month: Car Slinky


Do you remember the end of Toy Story? Woody and Buzz hop on R.C. and ride to the moving truck. They make it to the truck, and Slinky Dog hops down and grabs Woody. Slinky Dog stretches as far as he can, moving from one side of the street to the other, until he can’t hold on any longer.

Believe it or not, I’ve had a similar incident involving a car and a slinky-type contraption.

Slinky Dog helping Woody and Buzz
Photo from:

 Car Slinky

One night after work, my friend and I decided to take his mom’s 350Z for a spin. It was a beautiful car and an awesome night for a late drive. The weather was perfect.

2003 orange Nissan 350Z
An orange Nissan 350Z. Photo from:

We drove around and chatted, twisting and turning through all back roads of the Franklin Road area — until we came to this in the middle of the road:

silver airconditioning duct
Photo from:

You may recognize it. It’s an air conditioning duct. We tried to dodge it, and thought we did until I looked in the side mirror.

The duct was attached underneath the car, and we were dragging it down Edmonson Pike and Nolensville Road at 1 in the morning. The silver car slinky was at least 20 feet long, and it dragged from one side of the street to the other. Frantically, we tried to figure out what to do, but we couldn’t stop laughing. I cried from laughing so hard and knew we were going to get pulled over. No cop would ignore a sports car dragging a 20-plus-foot slinky down a main road in the middle of the night.

I felt like the baby sister in Toy Story seeing Slinky Dog in her side mirror. It was epic.

After about 10 minutes, we were finally able pull into a parking lot and unhook the duct. There was no damage done to the car, and it made for a great story. Some of my fondest memories are car stories, and you never know what you’ll see. Who knows there may be a YouTube video somewhere…

For fun, here’s the end of Toy Story, backwards! And if you have any funny car stories, we’d love to read them!

Writing for Web: Working with Images

I love pictures. You can capture some of the most beautiful moments and powerful feelings through a camera lens. In Chapter 4, Felder explains the dos and don’ts of using images in your Web writing and applies the same rules as writing. Images need clarity, meaning, and spark.

Before adding images to your writing ask yourself these questions to ensure you are making the right choice:

  1. What does the image to your reader?
  2. Is the message clear, or does it have mixed meaning?
  3. What is the tone and and mood of the image? How does it make you feel?
  4. Is the image simple, or are there too many things happening or in the background?
  5. Will this image alienate anyone in your audience?

Running through this checklist will help you pick the best images for your writing, whether they are pictures, graphs, clip art, illustrations, etc. The most interesting tip I learned was images with embedded text (text on the image) do not translate into ALT text. The ALT text is actually disabled, which means people with poor Internet connections or blind Internet users will not be able to hear or receive the image in any way.

This week’s assignment is to tell a story using one image and words. Once you read mine, try writing your own using just one image and see how creative you can be. It’s a good warm up if you’re into creative writing.

True Independence

I sat down in the seat and melted into the warm black leather. The salesman started the engine, and my heart raced at the rev and slight vibration of the engine. We backed out of the parking lot and headed down the street.

He told me how well it drove, how nicely it handled, and how tight the steering was. All I thought was I cannot wait to learn to drive this car. This perfect, black two-seater that I promised myself after I graduated from college. There was one problem: it was a six-speed manual and I didn’t know how to drive one.

Later that night, I tossed and turned in bed. I barely made enough to pay my regular bills, but I wanted that sports car. I wanted something that was mine, something I could pay for and show off. It wasn’t practical, but the desire to own it was an itch I could not scratch.

The next day, a friend went with me to sign the papers. I decided I could afford it and would find a way to make it work even though I had a family. When the papers were signed, I hopped in my Cavalier while my friend drove my new car, and I followed behind it to my house.

The black Nissan 350Z purchased after college graduation.
The 350Z one year after signing the papers. I love the way the sun glistened on the paint that day.

After two long weeks, and a lot of frustration, I learned to drive the car. Over the next year, I became more confident and made slight modifications to it. It was the most expensive thing I had ever bought myself, and it was the first thing that was truly mine. I was the only one on the title, and I was the only one who paid the note.

Now, five years later, it’s mine. It is my baby batmobile, my Z baby, and still a symbol of my independence as a hard working, strong woman. I am judged because it isn’t a family car, and I still do not care. I will drive this 350Z, revving and launching whenever I can, until it cannot go anymore.

This is not just a car. It’s a promise to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to; I have and will continue to succeed.