It seems my blog isn’t very *personal* lately … so here’s some life-life-life stuff:

So lately.. Lots of things broke (totaled car, RAM fried, 1500G harddrive crashed, wireless keyboard broke)… Slowly it is time to rebuild them. I’m a bit slow, because I’m still doing picture photoshopping, movie reviews, dealing with files, dealing with music, and all the other crap I’ve been doing for the past 2 years while not working. And holidays got in the way too….

I finally got my car back today. Carolyn took me yesterday, but it wouldn’t start. On the way, we also returned my keyboard (props to Logitech for giving me FREE RETURN SHIPPING for the whole 5 year warranty period–they gave me a label, I printed it out, bam, free UPS!), and my RAM (which cost $9 to return).


In hindsight, I never should have gotten my ram. I never noticed my computer actually get noticeably faster — RAM doesn’t give you more CPU, it just reduces swap time. Most things that you wait for are either CPU intensive — can’t be sped up by RAM — or I/O intensive (and it’s usually the harddrive, which also isn’t sped up by ram). I definitely noticed 768M vs 256M on my old computer, but 4G vs 2G just isn’t noticable. There’s no way that having 4G of ram ever cumulatively saved me even the time it took to deal with the complications of returning the defective RAM. I’m not sure if it’s the new RAM that went bad, or if it’s the old RAM. If it was the old RAM, I at least have the cold comfort that the new stick saved me downtime. 2G is certainly infinitely faster than a computer with 0G of ram :)


So day 2, we came back to the body shop and successfully retrieved my car. The thing drives fine. I get $2940 for it. $2191 is for the value of the car, $750 is for rental [which I get to legally keep regardless of whether I get a rental]. They pay me $140 less if I keep it instead of salvage it. The repairs were estimated at about $100 more than my car. But the repairs included door: My door needs no fix! It opens and closes with only minor difficulty. The repairs included hood: I don’t care if my hood has dents! I can hammer them out myself. The repairs include paint: FUCK PAINT, that’s for superficial people who waste their money on bullshit.

All I really need repaired are my bumper. I don’t even want a new one, I just want the old one affixed back on my car. One headlight is hanging out and doesn’t work — and it’s on the FAR side from the impact. It’s likely just disconnected. I doubt I need a replacement headlight.

I’m thinking that getting this car legally driveable is going to be significantly cheaper than a full repair, or even than buying a $3000 used car that may be of questionable quality.

Sure, I don’t have air conditioning. Sure, I have moisture leakage that sucks in the winter [but great heat!]. Sure, my alternator may just be going for the 5th time — but that may have simply been the cold. But in the end, this car goes.

I think I’m going to drive it around and get some estimates on “crap repair jobs”. If I can get it legal for $1000, I’m keeping the thing. If the insurance wont cover it because its worthless, then my insurance will just be that much cheaper. I’ll have to call the insurance company and ask about such legal issues. I will of course record my call for legal purposes! have a device that runs my phone through a micro-cassette recorder. [Can cellphone people do that?] Even if my alternator goes bad and I pay $400 for freon, in this scenario that would only be $1900, meaning I end up with an extra $1000 profit AND cheaper car insurance.

I’m thinking this is the way to go. I really don’t want to have to look at other peoples’ shitty cars. My car is only shitty due to my own neglect; the engine is fucking awesome, the remote start still works even if the alarm has died since the accident, and having 2 12-inch subwoofers is really nice, even if one is burnt out. The thing is fast and handles well; I once outran a … well, nevermind. Better not admit such things publicly. Suffice to say it goes over 100mph with no problem and accelerates really well.


Meanwhile we’re trying to get my harddrive out of the enclosure (which was utterly useless for harddrive-recovery-using-1999-computer purposes) and into Carolyn’s computer. This is proving to be challenging for Carolyn. Her computer now has SEVEN harddrives and THREE SATA controllers. Ridiculous. Her computer is basically where we shove all harddrives from crashed computers. It reminds me of Invader Zim from the Dark Harvest episode, where Zim says, “More organs means more human!” In this case, “more harddrives means more computer!”. My RMA period is going to expire, but I figure I might be able to restore some files from Carolyn’s computer during the day when she’s at work. If it was any other situation, I’d have sent it back yesterday with the keyboard and RAM. She is currently playing the “try different controller cards and find one that recognizes” it game. If I can get an other 10G off of it, it will all be worth it. It’s not like the data is really *lost*. Everything is burned twice. It’s just that backups are a LAST LAST resort.


The freecycle stereo I got for $0, to replace my $1000-in-1997 120W-per-channel * 5 channels stereo — is working quite well. I got to ditch the pre-amp I was using (as the 1997 stereo died, things got quieter and quieter). No more amping the signal to 10 through TWO amps just to have it be moderatley loud. Surpringly, this 40W stereo is way louder than my 120W was. (And yes, I checked the speaker impedance.) So that was one thing that I got to restore to BETTER than status quo for free. I lose a fancy $100 clunky remote control, but I gain a quaint 3-disc CD player — CDs haven’t been played in Casa Clarolyntopiastan in like ~7 years.


Yea. I need to get a car first. Update my resume. Refresh it out there. Get some leads. Talk to recruiters. Talk to my ex-co-workers. Get my references in order. It’s really the last priority. I’ve been putting it off because it’s kind of inevitable. And I’m not looking forward to it. And I’d really like to get this computer crap in order first.


Also… running low on compressed air. Quite honestly, I’d be willing to hand-pump a re-usable compressed air container. Having to pay $3-$8 for a can of air is ridiculous, especially when you wonder what kind of chemicals they use, and what kind of environmental damage there is in compressing, packaging, and transporting air. I only use 2-10 cubic liters of air at a time. If I had to hand pump first, whoop-de-do. Does anyone know of such a thing? It seems like it would be a hot product for the environmentally conscious computer geek.


So yeah…. Stuff is pretty lame right now, but it can only go up from here… I suppose. We still got more savings than most single people I know — probably back into the 5-digit levels after I cash my insurance check. We have no kids dragging us down. We have a mere $1400 mortgage that is voluntarily $100 more than necessary that we will reduce it back to $1300 this week to stretch things out a bit. Our combined health insurance only takes $75 out of a month’s worth of pay, and has low deductibles (but $25 copays, grrr). And if all else fails, we have a year of [Carolyn’s] salary in 401(k) savings (now almost back to pre-economic crash levels), and an $80,000 credit line tied to the house. We could theoretically both quit our jobs, slack off, and live on the credit for 10+ yrs. Or It would probably get revoked at some point… But at the moment it seems like we’re “too big to fail”.



Or am I just less stressed out than a lot of people? Even if our house collapsed and the insurance company paid us $0, our land is still worth more than the money remaining on the mortgage! It seems impossible to lose. Or at least, improbable enough to not worry.

So no, I still don’t feel super rushed about this job thing. And in case anyone asks if Carolyn is pisseds that I’m a bum — I’ve still made more money than her since we moved in, and have still footed more than half of all expenses up to the point that I stopped working. And where I lack now will be retroactively paid off, as it has been in the past. So no, I don’t really feel any guilt, other than the fact that it’s a cryin’ shame that Carolyn can’t take a long break. Her work is pays less, but is more constant… While mine pays more, but is less constant. It’s a really good combination, actually.

So yea… if this is life sucking… I don’t have many complaints, really. I look forward to emerging from my coccoon sometime in 2010, and returning to corporate hell for another spell of 4-6 years. And then taking another year off :D

Mood: full
Music: Tiamat – Ancient Entity