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January 16, 2011 11:45 PM 1/16/11

So here’s the vehicle I went to pick up on Saturday:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/49991043@N00/sets/72157625716055641/

She’s looking very ugly but it turns out she’s a damn good vehicle.

To recap - my mother recently was gifted a newer car and I needed a stable vehicle for interviews and just getting around so she gave me her old one.

As I posted earlier it’s a 1998 Dodge Neon 2.0L DOHC, 5 speed manual trans, with 193k+ miles on it. She had a ton of work done to it including the head gasket, timing belt, and water pump.

My friend drove me to Tomah, WI where we met my mom at the McDonald’s and picked up the car. Driving back was uneventful with the exception of not being able to clear the windshield (washer bottle frozen solid) and being stopped for no plates in Illinois.

It drove damn smooth except for normal road bumps and cornered flat at speed which is fairly impressive. Of course the damn thing is so low to the ground compared to my other vehicles that it feels totally weird.

Right now it’s in the workshop bay because I don’t want to have to deal with any odd questions because I don’t have plates on it yet and can’t afford those until Friday.

Turns out this is a good thing because it has allowed me to replace the two dead speakers in the front doors because I can’t stand having incomplete sound in the car. Thankfully I had the speakers already. I’ll need to get a new mount for the stereo because one of the ears is broken off but that’s $20 down the road sometime and not all that urgent.

I’m also going to take the time to replace the dome lamp with one that uses LEDs because the bulb is out of it right now and the cover is missing. No biggie as I’ve got all the parts I need to fix that already.

There’s a lot of cool upgrades that can be done to this car. And I’m not talking about all the funky add-ons that do nothing for functionality or performance. For instance there’s an EL gauge overlay that completely changes the look of the cluster lighting and removes the need to replace bulbs.

I’m planning on replacing all the bulbs with LED versions anyway as they last 10 years on average without having to be swapped out and don’t dim over time really. A third brake light is also in order at some point. I’ve got an absolute TON of different LEDs so I may very well just design my own circuit for that rather than buying one. Of course there is the whole DOT approved thing so buying one also has it’s advantages.

I’d love to get cruise control installed on it but that’s a bit difficult because I’d have to collect all the OEM cruise parts or pay a dealer to install it. I really don’t want to go with an aftermarket system just because integration into the dash is tough. (Something I’ll have to remember if I want to add switches or something to my dash.) Oh and the cigarette lighter is one of those that is “always on” so I’ll have to fix that so I don’t have to keep unplugging my iPod charger all the time.

So yeah I’ll probably do modifications over time - most functional but some for looks. Oddly though I kind of like the stock green color.

On other fronts the 84% on the CCNA practice exam must have been a fluke because I went right back to 76% as of today. So frustrating. :-(

I know it’s not that bad but I’m starting to feel like the WIA people are waiting to pounce on me if I don’t get this done. After watching a ton of other WIA people do all sorts of stuff including non-completions I know it’s not as bad as I think it is. But my own integrity is hammering me a bit because it’s taking so long for me to finish the cycle.

I think maybe I’ll take time on Tuesday and take the CCNA+Security practice exam and see how I do on that. Just for comparison. I _can_ take the tests out of order so maybe I can get the one out of the way and better concentrate on the other. *shrug*

On top of all this the house is a little dusty and dirty so I need to handle that. Banpei isn’t running right now but a friend of mine sent me a box full of Roombas and spare parts/accessories so fixing him shouldn’t be too hard. I really miss having those little buggers running around cleaning. Somehow it made the house feel just a little more alive.

And i still have to fix the software for Luffy the WeatherQube because he’s still reporting no wind direction and -194 degrees or what not when it drops below zero. I’ve confirmed it’s the software because it runs fine with stock software but that’s gui based not command line AND doesn’t run on MIPS processors - or at least I’ve been unable to get it to build on NetBSD 4.0 Cobalt anyway.

Once this whole unemployment thing is done I hope I can handle all these skill issues. Things like my weak-ass programming abilities and my math. They’re things I really want but can’t take the time to focus on them right now.

(...)

I’m struck by a sudden thought. All this money stuff really wastes peoples’ time. Having to make money, having to manage money, having to protect your money.

This all leads me to the sign above the dormitory in the old 1951 movie When Worlds Collide - “Waste Anything Except Time – Time Is Our Shortest Material”.

Some part of me says that all this stuff about money is wasting our time while our world crumbles around us.

There’s got to be better things we can do with our time than money.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth ( http://nimitzbrood.dreamwidth.org/213960.html ) but feel free to comment here as well.




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