The big news… finally

     Sorry about the long wait on the news. I needed to upload the picture to show everyone. With my PC giving one final gasp and needing a nearly complete overhaul.. well.. it took time to recover everything I needed again.

     So here’s the news. On August 27th in the morning I became the brand new owner of a Subaru.
     I wasn’t kidding when I said my old car has to go. The AC repair job was the last and final straw for me. So I went car shopping and bought a 1998 Subaru Outback Limited (automatic transmission) which had just over 61k on it from a used car place.
     I took the car for an inspection at a local Subaru dealership prior to purchase since it seemed to shake when driving. It was discovered that the previous owner was either unaware or just an idiot or both, because they put different type and size tires on the car. Different type/size tires + all wheel drive = differentials get busted. Other than that though, the car was solid. Even the first owner wrote down all their repairs on the owner’s manual which was in the glove box. (I did a background check on the car to find it had 2 previous owners.) So after some haggling over price, buying car and adding on some amount to car loan for repairs, I had my car. (Aside from the fact the other 2 Subarus I found online were both already sold.)
     A friend/former boss of Giuliano’s (Jim) knew someone who could work on the car and save us (er.. me) a lot of money. (The dealership was quoting 1.5k for just one differential.) In the end the cost of repairing the differentials cost 1.4k for all of them. I also bought 4 new tires prior to the repair to make sure the new differentials would be just fine. (Note: Picture above taken after buying car, and before new tires and repair.)
     So now the car runes extremely smooth. The AC is fantastic. The acceleration on this car.. wooo. I tap the gas and it starts racing down the road. (My Geo you have to press down just to get it to budge.) The steering wheel is either leather or leather like, as opposed to the plastic of the Geo. There’s auto windows, locks, cruise control, cup holders *grin*, fog lights, a rear wiper.. all things my Geo lacked. I’m actually taller than some other cars on the road as opposed to so low to the ground that other vehicle’s headlights blind me at night. (When civics and the like are higher up than your car, and you can’t see past them to view traffic, that’s a problem.) People more often than not yield for my new car as opposed to cutting me off in the old smaller coupe. Heh, heh, heh, heh. The windows of the Subaru are also tinted. The back is heavily tinted as are the passenger windows. The front windows are slightly tinted and the top part of the front windshield is also tinted. It’s taking some getting used to the tint.
     At first I had called the new car Dragon due to its length and power. The name has now changed and seemed to settle on “Haku” after the character from Spirited Away. (Mostly in the hope that the car will live up to its name. That and it’s fun pressing the gas and shouting “Go Haku!”:D Yes I’m weird, get used to it.)

     My old car will be hopefully donated. I have to look over and fill out some paperwork before sending it out. Right now it’s sitting at the end of our driveway while the new car gets the garage space. 😛

So there’s the big news. I have a new car. (Hurray for car #2!)

Death to the Cursed Jade Car

Major car rant incoming!
To sum up, what I have replaced on my car to date:

Within the first 100 or so miles after buying: (Car was bought at 50k)

  • Radio replaced because back light did not work.
  • All 4 tires
  • Entire exhaust system minus catalytic converter

Within the first or second k or so miles of ownership:

  • All 4 struts
  • AC condenser
  • AC fan
  • AC converted to new system
  • AC refilled several times
  • Thermostat housing (?) – When I was loosing coolant on a daily basis. Literally had to refill coolant every evening. No pool of coolant seen on ground, ever.

Since my move to GA:

  • Ignition module
  • Both axles including CV joints/boots
  • PCV Valve
  • Timing belts and other belts replaced
  • Water pump
  • Front breaks
  • That metal round part that connects tire to car via nuts, 2 replaced along with said nuts

Total cost of all repairs: ~$3,300.00

What needs to be replaced to finally fix AC:

  • Compressor
  • Drier
  • Expansion valve

Cost for that repair ~$1,200.00

What I plan to do:
Buy a new (used) car. (Especially since I finished paying off the loan a couple of months ago.)

So until then I’m driving in 80-90 degree heat (plus humidity) in a car with NO ac. The people who checked my car’s AC drained it cause the AC was leaking (yet again), and so now I have none, zippo, nada, big goose egg AC in my car.

Have I been giving Giuliano nasty looks for picking out such a bad car, and saying it’d be okay? Have I been grumbling about when he said “We’ll repair the AC later.” before buying the car (which meant I’LL repair it later)? Definitely to both.

There’s nothing but pure hate for my car.

I got a library job again! YAY!

     It’s been a while since I really updated this thing and a few important things have happened. Well at least one big important thing anyway.
     I received a call a week and a half ago or so offering me the library job of Library Technical Assistant at Georgia State University. It’s full-time, 25k a year, located in downtown Atlanta. (I’ll be moving from a job working in cubicles, to a job working in, well, a bigger cubicle.) Which means I’ll be taking the Marta in to work. I’m supposed to get an official offer letter in the mail but it hasn’t arrived yet. Hopefully nothing has changed since I have already given my current job my notice. My last day at my current job will be this Friday, with my new job starting on the 18th.
     So I’ll finally be in library work again. Yay! (I’ve only been looking for library work since I moved to GA in December of 2003.) I feel so rusty now though, since I have been out of the field for over a year. Though I have been out for long times before and got back into the swing of things.      Just thinking about the new job is getting me those nervous butterflies in my stomach. I want to do a good job and I hope I live up to my new employer’s expectations.
     Then there’s the joy of permanent full-time again. Medical benefits and direct deposit (No running to that 1 deposit taking atm in that Motorola building, tapping a window that looks into security, and waving my atm card. YAY!). *Long pause.* Oh sorry. Just thinking about the direct deposit thing for a while. *Happy sigh.* Damn going to that 1 atm is a hassle as someone has to be there to let me in to use the damn thing and then sometimes it’s currently down. (As it is not exactly on my way home, it ends up being a waste of gas and time when that happens.) 9 months of weekly runs to that atm has really made the whole deposit paycheck process very weary.
     I have to report at 9am which means getting used to the morning shift again. I have to get myself up early. I still need to figure out how long it’ll take me to get to the nearest Marta station, how long to get into Atlanta, and then the walk into work. At least maybe I’ll get back into reading again by reading something to and from work.
     The most amusing thing of the day happened as I was enjoying some Chinese food. I opened my fortune cookie and it said, “Change is happening in your life, so go with the flow!” I’m not kidding. I laughed when I read it. To which I thought, “Okay!” I’m almost tempted to pin that to my cube at work.

     Giuliano left his job at Home Depot this past Friday. He too was a contractor for 8 months. (One month less temp work than I’ve had.) He starts his new permanent job tomorrow at Network Appliance. He’s really ecstatic over this new job and says it’s what he’s been wanting for years now. (Probably since he was laid off from Compaq years ago.) So I’m really hoping this coming week is a good one for him. I’m excited for him. It’s good to see him happy and in a position he loves.
     Now if I can only pull him away from his constant building of his Car PC. Alas this is the not so good part of dating a geek. When he sets his mind to doing something, he gets lost doing it and spends the majority of his time on it. 🙁 (*Feeling neglected sometimes*)

     Ah well time to bed and have one last week of work at my current job.

Why do people..?

     A few “Why do people” ponderings.

     Why do people walk through a drive thru? I saw that happen tonight. I ponder just what was in that stuff they were smoking. They walked behind cars and mimed that they were driving. Finally they actually tried to see if the restaurant was open and walked inside to order. Wow.. walking inside to order! Who would have thought that’s what you should do instead of walking through a drive thru lane.

     Why do people talk on their cell phone in a public bathroom? Really I want to know what makes anyone think that’s a good idea. And who the heck on the other side of the line is okay with that? If someone said they had to use the bathroom and then continued to talk IN the bathroom, I’d hang up. Sorry there are some things I don’t want to hear.
     If I have to use a bathroom and I have my cell phone on me, I turn it off before entering. I do the same in dressing rooms too. No conversation is THAT important.
     I mean come on. Hang it up or leave it behind on hold while nature calls, okay? And do not answer it if someone calls you while you’re so preoccupied.

     Why do people drive the wrong way down a parking lot? There are painted arrows showing that you can only drive one way down that lane. Then there’s the angle of the parking spaces that tell you which way you are supposed to go. And yet while I am driving down the correct way down a one-way lane, someone’s usually driving the other way on that same lane. Sometimes they have the galls to look at me like I’M the crazy one who doesn’t know how to drive. I almost want them to hit me so I can tell their insurance what an idiot they are. I mean it’s not even READING, it’s looking at a picture. Are you so stupid to not know what an arrow pointing toward you means?

     Why do people stop on a highway? I mean a literal dead stop. Lalala I’m driving in the left lane. Wait a minute. That’s the exit I have to take. BREAAAAAAAK! Now I have to wait for traffic that’s actually in the right lane to take the exit and for someone to let me in. Oh look the person behind me is trying to stop so that they don’t rear-end my stupid ass.
     If you miss your exit, take the next one. Then get back on the highway going the other way and take the damn exit then. You don’t stop on a highway. I’ve had this happen to me THREE TIMES!
     Once someone was slowly moving to the right, supposedly taking the exit. I was skeptical as they were kind of swerving before. So I waited until they were actually about to turn off. Then I begin to pass them. As I’m RIGHT NEXT TO THEM, they suddenly veer back into the right lane. I have to veer into the left lane to avoid being hit! I’m sorry but if you make a mistake, you deal with it and backtrack. You don’t stop, you don’t change your mind as someone’s passing you, you don’t back up on the highway. You backtrack.
     I swear one day a stupid driver will slam into me and total my car. Either they won’t break soon enough while I’m sitting at a red light. Or I’ll be stopped at a yield, waiting for traffic and they’ll slam into me. Or they’ll drive through a red light. Or they’ll make a U-Turn on a red light and hit me. (I’ve seen someone actually U-Turn on a red.)
     This is why I was so afraid to start driving. It’s not that I don’t trust my driving skills. It’s that I don’t trust anyone else’s.

     Man. The stupidity of people astounds me. It would be funny if it wasn’t so damn sad and pathetic.

JapanFest 2004

      So yesterday Giuliano and I went to JapanFest in Stone Mountain Park, GA. I had been looking forward to going to this ever since I found out about it online by chance a while back.
      The first thing I began to regret was forgetting to put on any sunscreen. We arrived late so it was around 1:15-1:30 when we arrived. The sun was high in the sky and there were no clouds. I repeatedly sought out shade and tents in order to keep myself from burning. It didn’t take long before my arms began to feel warm, which I already know by now is not a good sign. I know all too well on conditions like that, my burn index is about 15 minutes in the sun. After that I begin to look like a cooked lobster.
      Being my first time at this festival, I made my way first past the bonsai tent. Then we saw at a distance some kimonos hanging from a display in a large building on the top of a hill. We walked there so that I could check out the kimonos. That was one thing I had come to get, a good kimono for myself. (And if I was lucky a kimono for Giuliano.) Also maybe we could find something I could at least cover my arms with.
      Well the building was packed as was this small table seller. A lot of people were looking over the t-shirts hanging and on their table. The shirts all had anime designs. I found myself soon wishing they had brought more displays to hang them from. It would have made it easier to get around.
      I began to look through the kimonos, but soon realized I have no idea what size I am. I tried a few on, but they didn’t fit. I tried to find someone working at the booth and get their attention. However with it being so packed, I couldn’t get anyone’s attention. So Giuliano and I looked at the other sellers to see if someone else was selling kimonos and could help me. The only other ones I saw were much more elaborate and I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford them.
      I made my way back to the first seller. By now I’m getting disheartened and a bit disgusted. I began to remember why I hate crowds. I looked through the kimonos again, frustrated that I had no idea what would fit. I just wanted someone to tell me what size they thought I was and point out the kimonos I could fit to me.
      I began to snap a bit at Giuliano as he was only following me around like a lost puppy. I needed his help to flag down someone to help me. After waiting and waiting and waiting at the seller’s table, we finally got someone’s attention. We asked and she said that the kimonos were one size. I sighed. She pointed to some kimono tops on sale. I went to look through them, audibly mentioning to Giuliano how the seller needed signs saying the kimonos were one size. It would have saved me the trouble of waiting.
      So I looked through the tops, but most of them were pink (ick) and light green. I really wanted a blue kimono. I tried one and surprise it didn’t fit.
      Now I was to the point of crying from frustration and depression. I had imagined some kimono tent at this fest and someone to help measure you and help you into your kimono. That wasn’t happening. I looked at the other side of the display of the kimonos, and lamented again. I saw one that was blue. “That looks nice,” I said truthfully. “I bet it won’t fit either.” I took it down and started to put it on. “Just watch.” I wrapped it around me and to my surprise I could get it around me.
      “That looks like it fits.” Giuliano remarked.
      “Really? You don’t think it’s too small?”
      “No.” Wouldn’t you know it, a saleswoman walks by then and Giuliano flags her down to ask her if that looked like it fit. She seemed to agree.
      I had also noticed what looked like men’s kimonos and pulled one down when I found this blue kimono. So we asked if it was a men’s kimono and she said yes.
      Well I had pestered and pleaded with Giuliano to try it on. He kept asking me why and what he would wear it for. (It’s always a pain to get him to at least humor me.) Then he said “Unless you’re going to buy it for me.”
      I rolled my eyes. Giuliano at this time is short on money, and I had two large paychecks under my belt. It was my ‘duh’ look. “Yeah I’m paying for it.”
      “Oh.” He smiled and put it on. *Mental groan.* He put it around himself and looked down. It looked really good.
      “That looks good on you?”
      “You think so?”
      “REALLY good on you.”
      The saleswoman straightened he kimono on Giuliano and smiled and agreed it looked great. That finally convinced him and he agreed to let me buy it for him. Finally!
      We then asked if there was a sash (obi) for my kimono. She had to help someone else with a sash, so we waited. Finally as we purchases our kimonos, she got one for me. Of course I forgot to ask for a sash for Giuliano’s kimono. (I didn’t see any men’s sash’s anyway.) The sash I got I’d say is like a long scarf. (So we both need an obi at this time. I need a wider one, and Giuliano just needs one.)
      Then we walked around. I asked Giuliano to see when the archery was taking place. We had just missed one. So we walked through vendors. I bought a Japanese fan. (I really needed it.) We looked at various things.
      Finally we saw a tent at the Konnichiwa Club (I think it was) where they were doing your name in kanji. As Giuliano’s name is so unique, I always wanted to know how it would write out in Japanese. So we waited and finally Giuliano could ask for his name. He wrote it down and pronounced it. The woman wrote it down and explained the kanji to him. The first kanji was actually the woman’s name. (Heh.) She said the first kanji meant “long life”. However he couldn’t hear the rest. Giuliano seemed very happy. Then Giuliano asked if I wanted to go. I supposed so. I could probably find “Christine” online in kanji. So I wrote my name down and pronounced it. She slowly wrote it down and gave it to me. I thanked her heartedly. Then we made a donation to their club. Now we just have to frame those.
      We then noticed it was almost time for the next archery time. We made our way and there was already a crowd. They talked about how it was done as someone demonstrated. It was beautiful to watch. I turned my head to see a man dressed up in Samurai armor. I tapped Giuliano’s arm and pointed to him. (We would later discover they were doing pictures with a Samurai at the fest. We missed out on it.) I lamented that I forgot my digital camera. My attention turned back to the archery display. I watched as each person got up and displayed their skill and art. We overheard that they have classes to teach this. Giuliano later told me he would not have the discipline to do that. I probably would as I’m very serious about my work and very focused. However I’m far from in shape and would not have the arm strength to handle that bow.
      Finally we left and went to see the rest of the vendors. One tent had what I’d call geeky stuff. Computer CDs, storage tapes, displays of the inside of a cell phone, etc. Giuliano looked through all of it, as was to be expected. Nearby in another tent, they were showing an elaborate toilet with controls. Giuliano picked up a few brochures. (I know I want to replace the house toilets, but this is a bit much.)
      After we finished up looking around, we decided to get some lunch. Giuliano stopped a few yards away under the hot sun to look at the booklet to see what each vendor was selling. I started baking and pleaded with Giuliano to keep moving. He still didn’t know what to get. I saw a nearby tent that was selling fudge, drinks, and some hats. I told him to figure it out as I went for the shade. I picked up a very colorful triangular-shaped hat. I had to wait as they had PC problems at the register and had to reboot. Suddenly I felt very hot. I fanned myself faster as I stood in line. No doubt about it, I was dehydrated. It was already after 4 o’clock and I hadn’t had anything to drink since I got here. Finally I got the hat and put it on. Already I began to feel a bit better.
      Giuliano picked a place to get food and we got some. He slowly made his way to find some shade. I told him I’d sit on the ground if it meant having shade. I was feeling really warm. Luckily someone let us sit near them on a shaded picnic table. I took off my hat and started panting out loud. I’m sure those people thought I was strange. I was baking and probably starting to suffer from really bad dehydration. I’m lucky I didn’t pass out right then and there.       I had Giuliano open for me my can of green tea. I took a long sip before I began on my food. I ate my food as if I was starving all this time. Maybe that was heat related too, trying to regain my energy. Afterward I felt a bit better.
      The fest was beginning to wind down. We walked to a tent that was talking about Commodore Perry and the opening of Japan. A few people tried to talk me into taking a picture behind some cut-outs. I was not about to do that as I was still feeling tired. I looked through the tent. Then we went to the bonsai tent and the sponsor tent next to it. Giuliano filled out a form to win a trip to Japan. By that time it was after 5 and the fest was over. Before walking out, I told Giuliano that we didn’t have any gelato from that vendor. I never had gelato before. So we both got some chocolate gelato. Now I know it isn’t good to have, but again I’ve never had it before. As my boyfriend is Italian, he’s known about it while I asked about it a while back. (Making me feel uneducated.) It just goes to show that even after 6 years, I still need to immense myself in more Italian culture.
      Finally we left the fest and I slowly walked back to the car. I was beginning to feel sick. Definitely not a good sign. I was completely miserable from the heat and humidity. When we got in the car, Giuliano turned up the AC. I think I drifted off a few times on the drive home. I actually do not remember some parts of the drive home and I was the navigator.
      When we got back to the house, I turned on and up the AC downstairs. I sat on a chair and rested as Giuliano got me something to drink. It took me a while before I finally began to feel better.

      So overall it was fun. Next time we need to find a way to bring water or buy drinks more often. At least I have a kimono now. I just need some shoes to go with it.
      Later that night I put on the kimono and posed for a picture. Then I had Giuliano do the same. So here’s us in our kimonos.