Old, huge cars

My first car, and probably my worst investment in an emergency, was a 1998 Buick Century with some ~150,000 miles on it (I never knew for sure, the odometer was broken!).

Once I realized the $2,500 deathtrap was going to end my life in an awful way, I sought out a better car.

I got the Buick in a hurry due to circumstances not worth going into, but let’s just say I unexpectedly became a commuter student while attending college and to pass my classes I had to find a mode of transport (the wild west does not have busses).

My 1989 Crown Victoria

(I replaced the tires)

And what did it end up being? Why, a much older vehicle of course! A 1989 Ford Crown Victoria in “good” condition. Also around 150,000 miles when I got it (now at 167,000). I got it for $600, plus $100 in repairs.

Which leads to the story about the best investment I made in my entire life: one very large car.

Sometimes I feel like Fred Schneider. As I take off, I say in my head, “I’ve got me a Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale, and it’s about to SET SAIL!!” (Yes, I know Chrysler isn’t Ford).
The whale part seems most appropriate as I go down the road with the most worn shocks I have ever experienced. Hit a bump, and I bounce for several feet down the road. It seriously is fun, even if I really ought to have those replaced.

My choice in the Buick was, ironically, to find a safe car for winter driving. It had front wheel drive, ABS brakes, and fairly good traction handling. I was afraid that the Crown Vic wouldn’t hold up to this standard of safety. Turns out, I was very wrong.

See, a 4,500lbs car does a really good job sticking to the ground. Sure, stopping distance is a different factor, but I was well-trained at driving on snow and ice. Rear wheel drive on a vehicle of this weight in the snow handles surprisingly well, especially if you stick a load of bricks (or sandbags, if you’re normal) in the trunk during the winter.

I first decided I loved this car when someone walked from the trunk to the front and said, “Wow, that’s one long car!”

This car has all the options. Automatic climate control with A/C, basic interface computer, power seats on driver and passenger side (which means it is a split bench seat), “premium sound” (which meant higher quality speakers and a radio that was both AM and FM, now replaced with a modern stereo), vanity mirrors, and automatic headlights (dead).

Something awesome is the car’s computer. It shows the driver the time, date, total time of trip, digital trip meter in addition to the mechanical meter, average miles per hour, average gas mileage, current gas mileage, and fuel used. An invaluable tool and feature not found factory for many more years.

A $700 car comes with its disadvantages. The paint job is well-worn and flaking, it has a big-ol dent, the interior is alright but has damages expected for its age, and it has a very dorky racing steering wheel (up for replacement soon). But, I love it, and I hope to drive it until the wheels fall off. Someday, I will find a Ford of the same vintage in better condition and have a vehicle that I can pamper. For the time being, my huge go-mobile works quite well for a college student.

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Leash laws

When an unfamiliar dog approaches me quickly, I kick them.

Please, stop the kicking, keep your dogs on a leash.

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A lot has changed.
I was raised was as a quiet, reserved, and respectful boy. Now the world full of privileged little shits that run around causing havoc and noise wherever they go. I live in a college town, I’m at the heart of inconsideration.

I’ve had noisy neighbors who think it is okay to party until 3am. Neighbors who leave the trash outside their doors. I run into people walking two or three abreast on sidewalks who won’t let you pass. People playing music out loud on their phones on sidewalks, in hallways, parks, etc. People who get so distracted by their phones that they block up hallways and doorways without a care as to what is going on around them. People who find it acceptable to yell, hoot, and holler at others in public spaces.

The common theme? People aged 18-25.

This generation is loud and inconsiderate. For myself, the worst part of it is that I also fit into that age group. Many residents of the town I live in will not associate with young adults because they assume we’re all the same way.

Older adults can be just as bad, although there seems to be less of a tendency for that to happen.

My boss has one word to describe the problem with today: “Selfishness.”

The only solution I have come up with:
When you see bad behaviour, correct it. Ask people to change what they are doing. Let them know you are displeased.

End of rant.

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Social Commentary for the Year

“Now my life has changed for no apparent reason. People who call and write are exasperated and feel helpless. They know I’m innocent and want to help. But in this nation, the world’s greatest democracy, there is nothing they can do to prevent me from being punished for a crime they know I did not commit.” – Bud Dwyer seconds prior to his death (1987)

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Bumptop (Windows)

Many of us bleeding-edge computer geeks were excited to see Bumptop, a program that Bumptop screenshot allowed one to completely change how you interact with your desktop. Unfortunately, the honeymoon did not last long and Bumptop got eaten by a larger company for unknown purposes (in this case, Google).

It disappeared from the web and left many of us stuck Googling “where do I find Bumptop free” to no avail.

But now, I am pleased to write, Bumptop is once again available for download through Google Code (download link). It isn’t being very actively maintained and is still as buggy as it was when it originally became available, but you can (finally) get it again.  Continue reading

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Thought for the Day

Familiarity is a dangerous thing.
Most people do not deserve to have political opinions. Either they don’t know enough about their own views, or they know nothing about the “other side”. 

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Univac I (image)

The Univac I

Read about it!
This model was used from 1951-1954. 

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GIMP Single Window Mode

GIMP showing single window mode Make GIMP easier to use.

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