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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Follow up on the car

Well, Bryan, Ben and I went to check out the 1993 Mustang. It was a beautiful car in the pictures, but when we went to go check it out, there were little imperfections all over it. The top looked like the canvas was coming off the frame. The seals around the windows weren't all that great. The trunk was clean but tiny. The engine was wide open but full of old parts. I fired it up, and fell in love with roar of the V8, but putting it in gear was scary. There was a rattling that came straight from the transmission when it was in gear. The top was slow in moving, slow enough that Ben offered to help move it along. The most that the car was worth was $4000. They were asking $5900.

Needless to say, I didn't end up getting it. But it sounded beeeeeeeeeeeeeooooooootiful.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cars

Well, I think the Nissan has about had it. I tried replacing the alternator, but I'd need to get underneath the car to take off the exhaust manifold (I think that's what it's called), and looking at the front of the engine, it's got a pretty bad oil leak, too. It's probably inexpensive to fix myself -- it looks like all I need to do is replace the seals on the top of the engine. I think the parts cost for that would be around $50, and then I'd spend maybe 2 hours fixing it. But even if I do that, the mechanic had said that I'd need a valve job done on the car. I don't know what that is, but he quoted me $1200. And I know that after I do that, I'll need to redo the suspension on the car, as well as fix up the body damage. If I had a garage, I'd be working on it now. The problem is that I have neither a garage, nor the right tools to do half of the work that it needs. With all this in mind, I'm going to go look at some new-to-me cars today. Hopefully, I can get something not too expensive ($10K or less -- preferably $5K). Needless to say, I think that this puts a motorcycle on hold, unless I can get a replacement car for less than $5K.

In any case, that's all that's been going on for me. Thanks to Alex and Ashley S., I've been able to get into the office a three times this week, and I worked from home Thursday and Friday. I'm getting used to that. It's actually far less distracting, as long as I have music on. It's good to be in the office for social reasons, but on days when I need to focus and get a lot done, I can sometimes actually work better at home. I just set up everything to keep me motivated and the music changes as I'm working. I tend to make a lot of progress when I've got choral or classical playing, but on my tired days, that will knock me right out, so I'll throw on something a little more upbeat. And thanks to the XM radio I got for Christmas, if my CDs no longer cut it, I've got about 70 stations of "ad free" radio from which to choose.

"Ad free", huh? It's roughly $10/month, and by "ad free" they mean no non-XM-sponsored commercials. There are still commercials on a few channels. Eric W. and I were both working from home one day, and he pointed out how many commercials there were on one channel. I forget which station it was, but as I listened to it, I began to notice them. It was the same ten commercials over and over again. We made fun of one of them. It was a commercial for a guy telling parents that with his simple tactics, you can get your children to respect you again. We both chimed in about the benefits of spanking or other forms of discipline. :)

Anywho, on that note, I'm out. Bryan S. is coming by today to take a look at a car with me today. It's a 1993 Ford Mustang, and since this is a series of car with which he is very familiar, he was very gracious in agreeing to drive an hour out to my place to help me out. There is another Mustang that I'm considering, but I prefer the 1993, as there is less computer operation and therefore more work that I can do on it myself. Whether I actually get either car is still up in the air, but there's another guy out at Leesburg Toyota who is looking through his inventory to see if he can find anything in my price range, too. In any case, we'll see what happens. There are a couple others that I'm considering, but these are newer-to-new cars -- and I really don't think want to spend that much (about $15K)...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

There are days...

You know, there are days when I wonder why I even have a blog. I hardly ever post to it. Few people read it. Then I realize why: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." --Al Franken, Stuart Smalley in Saturday Night Live, catchphrase

So anyway, it's been a while again, and a lot has happened since. Most recently, my car had a bit of a heart attack, but after undergoing surgery, I think it'll be OK. The distributor and the alternator both went out, and that may not be all. The mechanic fixed the distributor, but charged me so much that I couldn't afford anything else. Thus, I had to pull it out of the shop. I will fix the alternator myself, and hopefully be able to diagnose whatever else is wrong with the car.

With the beginning of Lent, I've decided to take up Holy Transfiguration again as my weekday religious destination. Unfortunately, with the loss of my car, I am stuck at home, with nowhere else to go until it is fixed. So, to all of you whom I would be singing with at any point in the near future, I've not abandoned you -- I'm just stuck.

Aside from that, work has been very busy. 10 hour days are not uncommon, nor is spending the night at the office (although that's far less common than 10 hour days). I'm hoping that comes to a stop soon, as that's a recipe for fried Anthony, and a fried Anthony is a cranky Anthony that no one wants to be around. Heck, I don't even want to be around me when I'm cranky. I'm awful! Plus, I smell awful when I'm fried. Baked in a confection oven, now that's a different story!

OK, that wasn't even remotely amusing.

Previously, I had mentioned an interest in music and composition. That interest is still there, but at best, it's only an interest. I'm too busy now to actually pursue it regularly, no matter how much I want to.

Girls -- who can fathom them? I sure as heck can't. With that said, the priesthood is becoming an ever more tempting option. Don't get me wrong: I love women, and I would probably enjoy being married to one. I just don't really remember why anymore.

And speaking of girls and Lent, a certain young man set me up. The jerk knows me well enough to know that I can't actually turn down a real challenge, even if my first reaction is to say no. Knowing this, he suggested mildly that I give up flirting for Lent. You can imagine my initial reaction of, "What? Give up flirting? You've GOT to be kidding me! No way!" He suggested that if I have to flirt, then I should flirt with only one person. I made a few suggestions, but he said no, I wasn't allowed to flirt with any of them. I could only flirt with Christine. "Why Christine?" I asked, thinking that I already knew the reason. Turns out I was right, I did know the reason: she wouldn't flirt back, and constantly puts me down. His reasoning was this: "When you're married, you can't just flirt all the time." "True," I reasoned back, "but when I'm married I'll be able to focus all my flirting on one lady, and I do intend to flirt with her daily." He couldn't really argue too much with that, but he still stood by what he said: that I should give up flirting for Lent. Naturally, I refused.

The next day, Christine was online, and I told her what this young man had told me. She lauded him on such a wonderful idea, and insisted that it would only be of good use to me. According to her, I flirt to hide who I really am. According to me, who I really am is a superficial flirt, so I'm not really hiding anything. But the more I thought about Lent and my refusal to give up something, the more it bugged me. So I eventually broke and gave it up. And now it's a daily struggle to not flirt. Do you have any idea how much of a problem this is? This is awful! I can't just go around flirting with girls anymore. I have to have serious conversations. This is truly the low point of my life.

And now for something a bit more rebellious (actually, is it really?). I want a motorcycle. And I'm not just dreaming this time. I actually really want a motorcycle. I went to a shop not to long ago to look at them. I sized up a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic, and a Honda Shadow Sabre. I also ogled a Suzuki, but the only one that they had to show me was the Boulevard M109R in red. It was a stunning bike, but it looked to be designed for one person. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but having the extra seat would be convenient.

Of course, anyone in their right mind would argue to death with me about the dangers of riding a motorcycle, how I can kill myself on one, how I can't afford it, how I don't need it, how it will make me even more of a social outcast than I currently make myself, etc. But you know what? I'm getting older, and the three of the most dangerous things I've ever done all involve work: 1. slipped and fell under a mower -- I still have my toes thanks to steel-toed boots; 2. worked for 36 hours straight in front of a computer, nearly going insane and contemplating quitting; 3. worked at an asphalt plant where the danger of me falling off the shaker and getting run over by a Cat front-end-loader was about as likely as my going deaf or getting killed by my co-workers, some of whom had jail experience. I've ridden roller coasters, the Dive Bomber Alley at Six Flags Over Texas, and I just feel like I'm reaching the end of my prime. Call it an early mid-life crisis. Call it stupidity of youth. Call it whatever you will, but don't deny an old man his dreams.

Oh yeah, and I also want a tattoo. Perhaps 1, perhaps 2. I haven't decided for sure how I want them. But, if I ever get a tattoo, I want a traditional Sacred Heart of Jesus and a traditional Immaculate Heart of Mary. And when I say traditional, I mean just that. I don't want a freaky new-age design. It had better be Michelangelo himself putting that into my skin, or I will freak out and punch the artist and not pay him. That's one of the main reasons why I will probably never get a tattoo -- I want them to be perfect. I don't want to have them ruined by some punk who thinks he's doing me a favor and making me look all bad and like a tough guy by adding a dragon's head around the hearts or something. And, since most tattoo artists are known for experiencing trips and highs, I'll probably not be getting a tattoo any time soon. But you never know. There could be a good Traditional-Latin-Mass Catholic priest available who just happens to be proficient with a needle and ink...

So anyway, yeah. That's about it. I'm hanging in there. If you're reading this blog, you know how to contact me if you so desire. And if you don't desire, that's cool, too. You know who you are, and if I get a messed up tattoo on my body, think about how you might have been the voice that could have stopped me. {wink}

Ciao for now! God Bless!

Oh, and check out my new blog on the side there: "Ramblings of a Crazy Person". It's a different category than this one...