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omnibus update

Things I've been up to lately:

  • Organized a joint DC LinuxChix/HacDC gathering. It was purely social (but of course with geeks the social is technical). I think it went well. I had been apprehensive that a LinuxChix meeting advertised to the "outside world" could attract drooling fanboys or something, but that turns out not to have been the case at all.
  • Looking for a new car. My '97 Neon has been breaking down too often lately. So far I've test driven a Mazda 3 and a Honda Fit; also on my list to consider and test drive are a Scion xD, Toyota Yaris, and maybe a few others. If I don't trade in my old car, I don't know where I'll find the time to sell it.
  • A healthy dose of Japanese tea ceremony stuff, including classes, a kimono-dressing workshop, and a big tea ceremony event this Sunday. Although I won't be performing the ceremony per se this time, I'm planning to wear my new pale green kimono with the ivy that I've come to think of as my 死ぬまで ("until death") kimono based on the seller's description of its flexibility and presumably its quality. It sounds morbid, but that phrase stuck with me, if for no other reason than that I understood it among the stream of Japanese that I didn't. I found a beautiful tagasode-themed obi to go with it. The other day I finally picked up a high-compression sports bra to wear under all this (and further layers of underkimono), and I chuckled to think of the unlikelihood that the staff at the sporting goods store had any idea what my purchase was for.
  • I went to a Presets show at the 9:30 Club along with underfiend and his posse. It rocked. Technically it was a Cut Copy show, but I was tired enough from dancing to the Presets—and from the increasingly dense crowd—that I only stayed for one or two of Cut Copy's songs.
  • I got to play at least a peripheral role in MESSENGER's second flyby of Mercury in the mission control center. I don't really understand why the project feels the need to delay release of all of the images the spacecraft has captured in each flyby, meting them out sparingly instead of just making them public when they're on the ground.
  • Playing Akoha, "the world's first social reality game."
  • Watching movies including The Darjeeling Limited, Swimming Pool, Venus, In The Bedroom, The Family Stone, Cube, and Crash.
  • Making plans to visit jmsa in her island paradise around the middle of next month.
  • Went to a Dorkbot DC meeting and took pictures.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 11th, 2008 05:57 am (UTC)
I didn't know you were having trouble with the Neon! Y'know, I can probably help with a good bit of it. They're ridiculously inexpensive to own and maintain, not to mention the insurance on 'em is next to nothing. Let me know what's going on with the car, and I can probably help.

If you're set on trading it in, you'll get next to nothing for the trade-in itself, but it'll save you time and effort.

The Mazda3 is quite possibly the best all-around car you mentioned above, when factoring in value, driveability, quality, and fun factor.

The Honda Fit is a bit more utilitarian, but still fun.

Nothing from Toyota is actually fun to drive, but they're very well-built. Beware that Toyota dealers know this, and have been charging ridiculous sums for their cars lately. One friend of mine (who didn't think to call in any common-sense help on this) got juiced for $28,000 for a Corolla. I'd like to know where the extra $10k went, on a $18,000 car...

Anyway, if I can help, you know I'd love to!
Oct. 12th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC)
They're ridiculously inexpensive to own and maintain
I wish I could say that has been my experience, but over the past year (now at 122K miles) I've accumulated a stack of repair bills—A/C, transmission, electrical, etc.—that suggest otherwise.

Out of the cars I've test driven in the past few days, the Fit has been the most fun to drive. The Yaris I tried was right out; it felt like a toy, and not in the good sense.
Oct. 12th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Transmission? You've got the old 3-speed auto. Only way to hurt that box is to use the wrong fluid in it, or run it dry (and using the wrong fluid is actually worse than running it dry). My two Neons have 175k and 195k on 'em, and the closest thing to a major repair on 'em has been a fuel pump replacement. (Yes, I killed a 5-speed gearbox once, but that was the result of constant abuse -- my own damn fault)

Seriously, these cars are usually quite easy to work on, and if you'd ever like to learn some autogeeking, well, I really miss doing that myself. We used to get about 20 of us together and have a little geek-share on car stuff. That can happen again, for sure.

Any car that hits 10 years old is bound to need some things done. If you want to keep it on the road, yours will easily be good for twice the mileage it's got now. Labor isn't cheap on any car nowadays (unless it's a friend helping you out who's logged over 200,000 miles on the same kind of car:) ) but parts for a Neon are among the least expensive of any car I've owned.

If you really want something new, however, well... that's always an option. It's really more of an emotional decision than anything else, as the price of keeping an old car on the road is always cheaper than taking on a new car note.

Anyway, my point is, if you'd like to have some friends help out twisting wrenches here and there, I can definitely help you save on labor :) There's very little on a first-generation Neon I haven't taken apart and put back together.

I don't just work on Neons (koshkaphoenix, roxybaby03, sproing, sorshawolf, and my own two rides, to name a few) but have wrenched brakes for tirani (Honda) and verticalface (Jeep), assorted stuff with jessekornblum and shorty36... and that's just a quick glance over my f-list. I like doing this stuff.
Oct. 12th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
This is strange, because I sold my '97 Neon three months ago (for $800). It had 177k miles, and while I would not claim that it ran like new, it was quite serviceable. Actually, I'm surprised you only racked 122k on yours. Must be the East Coast lifestyle. I wonder if damp climate is to blame.
Oct. 21st, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
You really liked the Fit? When I had to drive my friends Fit I was afraid I was crash it because I felt like I was driving a box with very limited site. There were blind spots I didn't epect to have blind spots, had to totally rely on all of the mirrors. I am really partial to Mazda. We really loved our MX-6. I don't know how the Mazda 3 handles.

Update in paradise: barawn was downgraded to an alternate so it is very likely that he will be around for your visit. :)
Oct. 21st, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the fact that my parents had a similar Honda hatchback (a Civic Si, also with manual transmission) to the Fit when I was learning to drive and years after that makes it feel comfortable and natural for me to drive. I think it has better visibility than my Neon, actually, which may be saying more about the Neon than about the Fit.
Oct. 11th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
It was good to see you again!

Sorry we didn't speak much. I was fairly distracted. Hope to see you out again soon.
Nov. 18th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
Thanks for the mention!
Just wanted to thank you for the Akoha mention! Glad to see that you're spreading the good around. Thanks for playing!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )