I am here! As of now, I even have Internet. I was never really disconnected; I was borrowing some wireless, but I guess I'm just too honest to rely on that for an entire month.
But now, let's talk cars.
The rental they gave me is called a "Chevy Classic". From what I'm told, this is the equivalent of a Chevy Malibu. What a shitbox. It has a turning radius of approximately Prince Edward Island, accelerates like shite, crappy brakes, bad interior design, etc. etc. Horrible car.
Today I went testdriving. Only really had a chance to testdrive at the Kirkland Honda dealership; Bellevue Acura was a bunch of jerks and wouldn't let me drive w/o my own insurance. I went to the Toyota dealership, and they were much nicer, but I ran out of time before I could testdrive.
In any rate, the first car I tried was the 2006 Civic coupe. With 2006, they have completely revamped the Civic. Very slopey, to look more like a sporty car I presume, or maybe for aerodynamics. The Civic's fuel economy is an insane 30/40 MPG. Inside, it sports a fancy digital dash, and a drool-worthy sound system, even an ipod dock! The downside? It's a light car. And a weak car (apparently Si's are next to impossible to get). So it's very delicate to drive, and damned if it can accelerate to highway speeds in a reasonable time.
Next up, the 2006 Civic Hybrid. Basically, the same Civic, with regenerative braking and acceleration assist for a massive 49/51 MPG. Very stiff (kinda touchy) brakes and it occasionally made some odd noises, but otherwise not that much different than the base Civic. Yeah, the engine turned off at a few stop signs, but meh. The novelty wears off fast. Despite what you'd think tho, there's no lag for the engine to kick in, and the 2006 even electrically-powers the AC and steering so both work as normal if the engine turns off.
Finally, the 2005 Accord V6. Wildly more expensive, but worth every penny. It's a fair bit bigger, but not particularly more roomy inside. Still, a brilliant car. Drives like a big boy's car, with an engine that'll give acceleration you can really feel (the salesman said "You don't want to get a ticket" over a dozen times during my testdrive). I have no complaints of any kind, except the price and the difficulty of getting the lower-end car.
The only Acura that I'd consider is the Acura RSX. More sporty and respectable than the Civic, but I was put off by the jerk of a salesman. And WAY cheaper.
Finally, there was newcomer to the car shortlist, the Scion tC. Basically, take a 350Z and stretch it a bit, you'd know what this car looked like. Very cute, a bit more muscle than the Civics with a tuned variant of the Camry engine. I didn't have time to testdrive it, but it's quite a car compared to its price.
Next on my drivetest list: the Mitsubishi Eclipse. I'm hopeful, but we'll see. A little money for a solid Accord could be indeed worthwhile!