Jan. 17th, 2007 08:44 pm
sylvar: (Default)
I got into a crash this evening.  Here's the front of my car:

Car crash - Picture 001

I'm going to take a 4-hour "traffic school" course which will mean that:
  • Hillsborough County will withhold adjudication;
  • I don't get any points on my license;
  • I get 18% off the cost of the ticket (meaning it'll cost me about $100).
The car is at a body shop, and State Farm will be sending a claims adjuster to check out the damage in the morning.  Also in the morning, I'll arrange for a rental car.  State Farm will cover 80% of the rental cost, up to $500.  The damage to the car ahead of me seems minor (there was a dent in the fender and a cosmetic part popped up a bit).  There are more photos of the damage on Flickr; I've already offered copies to State Farm.

This is going to be somewhat expensive, and that's not at all welcome; we're in the middle of paying for graduate school applications, transcripts, etc., and there's a possibility of repeating that process next year.  Fortunately, I've already got almost all of my tax information, so I'll be able to e-file pretty soon and get a refund (I've always gotten a nice refund, kina hora).  That should help considerably.

Jodi has been very gracious about it, and I appreciate that; many people would take it badly.  I'm just glad everyone seems to be okay, and I'm very pleased that everyone was so polite about it all.
sylvar: (Star Trek: TNG: Rocking Out In Car)
I'm selling a 1GB black iPod on eBay; the auction ends Sunday. As an eBay seller, I try to help buyers understand what their costs will be -- so I'm offering free USPS Priority Mail shipping (to the US), with free insurance.

eBay sellers who pad their shipping costs ($15 for shipping?!) bug me.

With the money from that sale, and if I sell my current 30GB, I'd be within easy striking distance (less than $100) of a new 80GB, Generation 5.5, video iPod. That would be very, very nice. And not just because it's the latest and greatest; I've actually been running out of room on my 30GB, and have been deleting things I listen to less often.

So here's hoping the pay-what-you-bid, no-extra-charges model works out.
sylvar: (Randomness: On mange avec plaisir et san)

We got to the Columbia Restaurant at noon on Sunday. I waited in line for about half an hour to get a number (#100), and we were advised that it would be about two hours before we'd be seated. So we went off to have 'first lunch' at Centro Ybor and saved room for 'second lunch' at the Columbia.

Here's how the check looked. (Hold the cursor over any item to see a description.)

1 BWL-BLK BEAN - 1905 DAY          0.75
3 1905 SALAD - HOLIDAY             5.85
1 SANGRIA-GLASS - 1905 DAY         0.95
2 AMER COFFEE - HOLIDAY            0.10
3 FLAN - 1905 DAY                  1.05
                      Sub Total:   8.70
                            Tax:   0.62
                            FLS:   0.10
                      Sub Total:   9.42
I'm only realizing now that our server neglected to charge us for Jodi's 10¢ iced tea and my 10¢ diet Coke. Well, they were all quite busy, and among the three of us, we tipped more than 100% of the bill (as the menu gently reminded guests, Your server is not living at yesterday's prices and their service should be compensated accordingly), so I think it turned out all right. But perhaps next time I'm there I'll insist on paying the 22cent; we should have been charged. For the curious, the complete 1905-prices menu also included:
Pitcher of sangria                 4.95
Cup of black bean soup             0.50
Chicken and yellow rice "Ybor"     2.75
Merluza "Russian Style"            2.95
Boliche                            2.95
Despite the huge crowds, our server was both professional and personable. Thanks, David M. (and your army of fellow Columbia staff members), for making it a memorable day!
sylvar: (Default)
  • Free dinner at Trang Viet Cuisine.

  • Watched a Babylon 5 episode ("Sic Transit Vir") with Jodi, who rarely has any interest in it, but put up with it for my birthday -- and Amanda, who is watching the whole series with me (we're on S5E02 next, which I think has the Declaration of Principles).

  • Will watch an episode of Buffy (S2E01, whatever that turns out to be) soon.

  • A bit of drama, but that's how LJ is sometimes. I might should have put my birthday stuff into a different post. Ah well. I know y'all wish only the best for us, and I love you for it.

    For the record, Jodi is quite capable of handling graduate work; she's taken many graduate seminars and been graded as a graduate student (and earned good grades even by grad-student standards), and the organizer of the PIKSI all-expenses-paid trip told her that her references are glowing. And we do regularly discuss the job prospects available in this area that don't involve four hours a day waiting for hourly bus routes to connect. But she's gung-ho on GRE prep, to which the thousands of filed index cards for vocabulary study will attest. And that's going to not only get her into graduate school, but get her fully funded somewhere. She's not as dumb as I look. ;)

    I didn't like the idea of selling the camera. At first, I downright hated the idea. But it gradually dawned on me that it was the single most powerful thing I can do to move in the right direction, and now I think it's a darned good idea. A bit humbling, but wise. When I have enough free time, I'll write some more crossword puzzles or sell some articles, and I'll use the proceeds to get a decent digital with some sort of optical zoom. I really don't need pro-am gear, I just 'shiny' it.

    The road trip is still on; Dad's paying for gasoline and we're gonna use to find places to sleep. (If you know someone in Nashville, St. Louis, DeKalb, Milwaukee, Kalamazoo, Oxford OH, Cleveland, Kent OH, Boston, Blacksburg VA, or Atlanta who would like some polite houseguests who plan to bring a gift like some key lime juice or other Floridiana, let me know!) So it's basically just food for an expense, and we were planning to eat some of that anyway. (Though not necessarily the likes of R. Thomas, Giordano's, or equivalent legendary foodstuffs of the cities we're visiting. For that matter, if you know a must-eat food along the way, speak up! We're already planning to have some frozen custard, too.)

    And by the way, we DO have air conditioning in the car; it was my dad's graduation present to Jodi and his birthday present to me, and a very generous present at that. So it's all good.

    We should really have some sort of get-together so people can hear more about our lives than I have time to post. Who's interested?
    sylvar: (Default)
    I'm 32 years old.

    My laptop is broken and we can't afford to replace any parts. (So you'll be seeing less of me online, unless I can figure out what's wrong and find a free replacement part somewhere.) Oh well, we got it for free anyway. I just hate being the only person in the house who has to ask someone else for permission to use their computer instead of just using my own.

    I'm selling my new digital camera and the lenses, tripod, etc. that go with it. It's the best way to reduce debt and provide for GRE classes, college-visiting road trip, application fees, etc. Jodi says she'll use her savings for moving expenses. I got an unexpected check in the mail, which helps. I'm still selling the camera, and I still need to sell the iPod nano, too. eBay fees are annoying, but I'm not sure I know of a better way to get the best value for this stuff.

    Oh well, at least I look hot in my black dress shirt and the jeans I bought a month ago. Never hurts to know people are staring at my butt. ;)

    I'm kinda sad about the financial situation we got ourselves into, but we're dealing with it. It was just a bad idea to be living like a dual-income, upper-middle-class family. We aren't.

    And despite all that, I'm actually fairly happy today. Go figure.

    Oh, if you're a Babylon 5 fan, you might enjoy The End of the World, Babylon 5 Style, which I wrote yesterday.
    sylvar: (HIMYM: The Finger Thing)
    My camera is having some shutter problems:

    This will cost so much to fix that I'm seriously considering replacing the camera body with the Canon Digital Rebel XT (the lenses and flash unit are compatible). With the $100 rebate, which lasts until mid-July, replacing the 35mm camera would cost as much as getting it repaired and shooting 50 rolls of film.

    I've gotten pretty good with a camera, I think.

    Pattern interrupted by a dove Plumeria Milan street seen from the roof of the Duomo Foucault's Pendulum

    I'd love to not have to worry about whether I'm wasting film; I'd get more good shots to share with everyone. And I do mean everyone, since I use a Creative Commons license.

    If anyone would like to contribute, an gift certificate to would be the ideal way to do so. I told [ profile] cardinalximinez that I wouldn't set up a tip jar for fear of getting my ego crushed. Oh well, go ahead and crush me.

    Or, if you feel generous, send me a gift certificate.

    sylvar: (Oh purr!)

    • Anyone can join the USF alumni association for $40/year, even if they've never gone to USF. That plus a $10 ID card makes you eligible to join the USF Recreation Center (which has great equipment, canoe rentals, racquetball courts, an indoor pool, etc.) for $21.40 a month. What a bargain! (And as a family member of a current student, I pay slightly less for the gym membership.)

    • I can save $400/year by transfering my balance from a department store credit card to my credit union card. The department store refused to lower my interest rate even after I informed them of this fact. Bye-bye, you silly people...

    • Making bulleted lists is fun.

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