Slack happens.

This morning, as I arrived at work, a woman from State Farm approached me in the parking lot and handed me a check for USD8346.48, in exchange for a signed title to the Blazer. This is over a thousand dollars more than the
mechanic’s estimate, and two-thousand more than what my father said the vehicle was worth. The difference between the two number, in fact, is more than what I paid for the new laptop I just ordered. Essentially, I got my new computer for “free.”

It’s going to be such a beautiful thing, too. Made by IBM Lenovo, three-gigahertz processor, fifteen-inch 1400×1050 screen, 256Mb of RAM, forty-gigabyte hard drive—twice as much as motherbrain—NVidia graphics board… not quite “the works” but sufficiently loaded as to prevent me needing to upgrade it for some time. It’ll be damn sight better than the current ThinkPad 600 I’m using.

I can’t wait to poison it with Slackware, then Cedega and City of Heroes.

Sadly, on top of the laptop, I must also buy a new car. As mentioned above, and before, I totalled the Blazer, meaning it’s time for a “new” car, or at least a new-to-me car. My credit’s so lousy that I doubt I could afford the payments on anything new, but I should be able to get a fairly decent used one for the money I’ve got. Tanya, in fact, found me a Buick Century wagon for just under two-thousand dollars, which would be great if it’s in good shape. She said she’d go and test-drive it for me today, then buy it for me if it turned out to be a good deal. It’s such a hideous beige, and it’s got the backward-facing “suicide seat” so you can cram eight people into it legally! I love it!

Of course, I think it’s about time I do a proper accounting of my past vehicles, in case anyone’s wondering why I hate automobiles: 

Name Type Lifespan Reason for Leaving
The Boat 1977 Ford LTD Wagon Nine months Rear-ended by a Suburban at 55MPH, frame bent. Vehicle totaled by insurance company.
Vulcar 1984 Honda Civic Five years Driven for an hour on a highway with no water pump, aluminium engine melted. Vehicle sold for scrap.
The Boat MkII 1984 Ford LTD Wagon II Forty minutes Threw a rod en route to campus the day of purchase, engine destroyed. Vehicle abandoned by owner.
Phoenix 1987 Chrysler Fifth Avenue One year Electrical system began failing six months after acquiring from parents, eventually stalled in an intersection in Dallas during rush hour. Vehicle abandoned by owner.
The Clown Car 1994 Ford Escort Three years Driven for nine months without an oil change, lifter in engine broke. Vehicle donated to Cancer ResearchInstitute.
Shamiqua 1990 Plymouth Acclaim One year Engine burned a quart of oil every half-tank of gas. Vehicle donated to Cancer Research Institute.
M. P. S. 1987 Volvo 240DL Sedan Six months Slid on patch of black ice during turn on paper route, driver’s front wheel slammed sideways into high curb at 25MPH, axle and control arm broken. Vehicle totaled by insurance company.
The Beast 1998 Chevrolet Blazer Five months Hydroplaned during rainstorm, spun around backwards and slammed into telephone pole at 35MPH, frame bent, drive train and rear axle damaged. Vehicle totaled by insurance company.

In hindsight, I really haven’t personally destroyed that many cars. The three totals were either another driver or bad weather, three of them were mechanical problems beyond my control, and the last two were genuine lack-of-knowledge. I admit driving it without an oil change or a water pump is dumb, but at the time I didn’t know I didn’t have the water pump, and I didn’t know the oil light meant “hey, stupid, you’re in danger of physical damage if you keep this up.”

Hopefully the next car will be better.

Live and learn. 


I mentioned the laptop before. I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival, not only because of the chance to play City of Heroes on my own machine for once, but because it’ll mean Jessie and I can team which should prove to be loads of fun. I’d team with more people, but I hate-hate-hate random invites, especially when I’m not looking for teams. Probably just part of my overall personality quirks, but I’m not playing an MMORPG for the MM part, or even the O. It’s the RP that’s important, and for most people witty character interaction and meaningful in-game relationships get in the way of power-leveling.

Yeah, it’s a bad attitude, but I know I can’t be alone.

There are a couple of hitches at the moment, but hopefully they’ll be resolved soon. I have a few requests to make the gaming experience more complete:

A Nostromo SpeedPad n52
Jessie first introduced me to these when she “inherited” one from Aly. At first I thought it was a mutant mouse of some sort, but once she showed me how it worked, I fell in love with it. I’d love to have one to use on my laptop, but I’m half-afraid that Cedega won’t support or recognize it properly, and I’ll be forced to use the keyboard instead.
A Logitech Trackman MarbleFX
Described both as the Cadillac of Trackballs and the worst eyesore to ever hit the desktop, I loved mine when I had one, but it died from use and they’re now discontinued. I’ve got a bid on eBay for one, and I’ve supposedly found a site in Texas that sells new ones from warehouse stock for USD100 each, but if anybody knows where to find one of these for less, please let me know!
More memory
This one’s already resolved, thanks to Furious Bees. IBM charges a small fortune for memory, mostly because getting a gigabyte of RAM means a single stick of memory, instead of two sticks of 512 megabytes each. They don’t even provide the option on their site, which really chafes. So, I bought it with the 256Mb option and am paying USD120, or thereabouts, for an upgrade. Jessie can have the leftovers, if she can use’em.

The only other issue was the ship date. It seems that the custom-built laptopI ordered had parts that were on backorder, so Lenovo claimed a ship date of August 5, which is not the two weeks their website told me custom-built laptops normally take. I called them and they not only found a pre-designed laptop with better specs than the one I built, but they dropped the price on the pre-designed model by five percent because they couldn’t fill my order as placed. So, I’m actually getting a better laptop and saving fifty dollars on the deal.

The anticipation is sweet. I can only hope the reality is sweeter. This is the most I’ve spent on computer hardware… um… ever.

Next I upgrade the server.