Words, Weights, Whatever

Thursday, June 02, 2005

***Is this the deal of a lifetime or should I wait until the next one?***

As long-time readers of my blog know, I’ve been near-fanatical about cars since my 1998 Dodge Neon nearly stalled on me last year. Well, after checking out cars and SUVs and, more importantly, enduring car sales folks (who, in my opinion, are far worse than the stereotypical politician as one of the despicable creatures on the planet), I did an abrupt turnaround, took my surprised spouse’s 1998 Mazda 626 while donating the Neon to charity. (Update: She was purchased for $500. Grrr. She’s worth more than that.) R., bereft of a vehicle, was forced to purchase a 2005 Honda Accord hybrid upon my recommendation. 35 miles per gallon (real world, none of that inflated EPA stuff) for six-cylinders didn’t hurt, either.

So here I am, (mostly) content with my current vehicle, knowing that, within a couple of years, it’ll be my turn to purchase a new one.

Then GM had to do this.

To illustrate the impact this discount has on a GM vehicle’s purchase price, take a look at this 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe as an example. As you can see, we’re talking about nearly $10,000 off the MSRP.

I’m in a mental and emotional dilemma. The former’s reminding me that we already have car payments while remodeling our home. That’s a lot of debt. The latter side’s, though, luring me with the promise of a new car scent.


And R.’s no help in this matter, wanting to make me happy. (I’m suppose to be happy in my life? What’s up with that?) And the too-cooperative spouse worsened it last night by reminding me about my Mazda’s current condition: 178k+ is a lot for a seven year old car*. Yeah, it’s still running strong but so had (mostly) my Neon before its electrical and A/C systems stopped working. And it had (barely) less miles.


Back and forth, logic versus emotions, with facts muddling the decision-making process. Argh! Why does life do this to me?


*When I took it into a nearby dealership to flush its engines, the technicians were reluctant to do so, stating the process could blow out the engine that old. They recommended the much cheaper drip(?) method.

**All images are found on the Internet and all rights belong to their owners.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

***Joel is back tonight!***

Writing efforts are beginning to pay off though at a slow pace. As any writer knows, trying to start again after a significant amount of time is like trying to start a car that’s been parked for over a year. While it’s not been a year since I last wrote (I stopped around December 2004), it felt like it. The Muse still feels sluggish: I get daggers when I try to rouse her from her slumber.

But I finally did rouse her. I’ve been working on the same project for the last couple of weeks. Designated PD, the story is a first for me: a love story. It’s set in modern times and draws upon my experiences in both the role-playing and Asian communities. R. has contributed greatly since one of the main characters is a medical student. (For those of you who don’t know, my spouse is a physician.)

I’m taking several different approaches to this project. Unlike my fantasies, for examples, I don’t have a completed outline for PD. Instead, I’ve noted several choice scenes and arranged them in a rough order.

I’m intensely working on the main characters. He is so radically different from myself or my experiences (what’s it like to be shorter than six feet and slim, example) that it took me a while to determine his primary failings…er…flaws. And I still don’t fully understand his character.

But the writing efforts are paying off. For the past week I’ve been writing off and on fairly steady. I was most consistent —you guessed it—during the holiday weekend. I hate to admit it, but it was a good thing (for me) that R. was on-call during that time. But the motivation was me: I planted my butt and set up my laptop at the coffeeshop in the late afternoons on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I know most folks would have been bored but they’re not writers.

Speaking of boredom, I found a major problem while writing: distraction. This is nothing new; anyone who knows me how easily I am distracted. But this time it was my own fault.

Many years ago I joined Forward Motion, a website dedicated to writers. One of the services (freely, I might add) offered on their website is a chat room.

Ah, I see y’all rising up in realization at the situation. Yeah, my distraction is spending way too much time chatting about writing (and other myriad topics. Writers can talk about anything) instead of doing the craft itself. So I’ve been slowly weaning myself from chat, first by setting boundaries (i.e., sending a message stating, “I’m writing now!”) to blocking the chat window from view. My ultimate goal is not to join the chat room before I finish my allotted writing for the day, but that’s in the future. Writing’s a lonely business and my fellow writers are interesting people.

I tried to hit the gym. And watch what I ate. I really did. I was actually successful with the latter: I ordered salad with every meal. Aren’t you happy for me?

Sorry to be gone so long. Well, actually, I’m not. Vacations are meant to be relaxing and that’s exactly what I did over the past few days.

R. was on-call (poor baby) all three days. Actually, way longer but that’s another story. I spent the so-called lonely evenings with the cast of my latest novel, PD (see Words above). They, and my fellow writers via virtual reality (aka chat room) kept me quite entertained Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. R. did come home in the evenings but was too exhausted to do anything.

I did enjoy other activities besides writing. I conversed for some time with the crew at a couple of my favorite restaurants. I checked out the cars at the Carfaire. And I attended the anniversary of my friend’s “free love” party. Overall, a very quiet holiday.

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