Poot.

I took the insight for a service at a local independent garage who are very nice. Unfortunately, it turns out their base service price is about twice that of the Honda dealer, which isn’t that much of a problem on a service, but makes me a bit wary of using them for other things on the Insight. That said, they are very nice, and unlike Honda they were happy to install the fumoto oil valve.

They also were happy to install the underbody panel…but they forgot. Which is irritating, mainly because it would have done sod-all to the service cost, but also because when I realized they’d not installed it I thought “oh well, I’ll do it when I get home, it’s a nice sunny day…”, which would have been fine except for the tiny fact that it turns out the insight can’t go up the ramps I’ve got.

Either of the pairs of them.

Because my ramps are designed for 1960/1970s European cars, which have nice high front bumpers, they have a fairly vicious slope on them. It turns out that you can’t even get them under the bumper on the insight.

Which leaves me unable to come up with a way of attaching the bloody thing other than taking it back to them (the nice, but not cheap, independent garage, because Honda won’t fit aftermarket parts), or buying a set of ramps specially for the insight. Although I think I might be able to get away with buying a chunk of timber to raise the car up an 5cm or so, before it hits the ramps. This is, of course, exactly the sort of thing I want (and don’t have) a garage for. I’m pretty certain I don’t have a workbench anymore, either, so cutting the timber has to be done by whichever shop I get it from. Which means planning ahead, and designing it without the thing I’m building in front of me. Something I’m notoriously terrible at, when it comes to quickie jobs like this one.

On the plus side, while they were expensive it’s much nicer spending the time kicking around town rather than hanging out in the Honda dealer (which is in the middle of the ‘auto-mall’). More expensive, but nicer. I had a nice tea in Burial Grounds, where my allergies decided to escalate to their usual ridiculous insanity – upsetting as I’d forgotten tissues (mainly because they’d been better for a few days). Then I spent an inordinate amount of time in Rainy Day, partly because my ex-students gave me a gift voucher (with which I bought both the Marika Hackman album, I’m Not Your Man (sadly not the Loser edition with its pretty coloured vinyl) and a used Bix Beiderbeck album).

Their plan worked, though. Rainy Day’s that is; I don’t think the students were in on this.

While I was in Rainy Day the woman running the shop put on a fantastic compilation of 1960’s Asian ‘garage girl groups’*. It’s part of a re-issue of a 1980’s series of compilation albums of 1960’s ‘garage girl groups’*. This has a dreadfully ‘of its time’ title (by which I mean it’s racist), so I won’t grace the page with the title. However, it’s an awesome compilation, and being a re-issue I’m willing to sort of let the title (and the title art on on the album) slide. Instead I’ll just share that it’s Volume 9 in the “Girls in the Garage” series.

Anyhow, having concluded that I’d broadly spent enough money on toys I meandered to the New Moon Café for lunch, then out to find a shady spot to finish reading Nasty Women. Which was fascinating, and interesting, and depressing, and uplifting. It makes me want to write, which I really should try and do, given that I’ve got about 1/3rd to 1/2 of a book sat unfinished.

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*I have issues with this term, although I <em>suppose</em> I could equate it to boy-bands? Any moment when grown women are referred to as “girls” I find wrong.

Dreamwidth Posty

So I used to be on LJ. I shall not be updating the LJ account anymore… I’ve finally got around to tweaking the crossposting to crosspost to Dreamwidth (and tumblr).

End announcement.

Danger, Will Robinson!

Danger, Will Robinson!

I have fallen into the dangerous territory of the mechanical keyboard. See, many years ago I had a rather nice IBM keyboard which died. I can’t remember how it died. It probably got run over by a steamroller, or somesuch (I think it got knocked off a desk and landed key side down on the prongy-footy-bit of a wheelie chair).

At any rate, I loved it, but eventually it made my poor hands hurt when I was doing technical writing. Also, I tried taking it to my office and had to bring it home to prevent my summary execution for the clickety-clackety-noise of it distressing and distracting my colleagues. Anyhow, so first I discovered tenkeyless keyboards, which are nice. Especially if you have a dinky little numpad to go with it that can float off and be moved around as needed.

Mhm.

Then I discovered pretty keycaps.

And while I knew that mechanical keyboards were “a thing”, I’d not really realised the extent of “the thing” that they are. And I can feel myself being sucked into it. Mainly because I thought “oh hey, wouldn’t it be fun* to build my keyboard myself”. Why I thought this is probably related to my dad, who had to build every damn bit of the computer himself, and made a rather fine hardboard cased lilac coloured keyboard. And I am always rather sad that I got rid of that in one of the tidies. I mean, it wasn’t useful or anything, because it was a terminal keyboard for a terminal he built, which I no longer have either.

But I rather liked it.

And then I saw the T0mb3ry SA Carbon keycap set. And I spent far too much money on it. Which is silly, and I couldn’t work out why I liked it so much.

Then it came to me. It reminds me of the old CTL / ITL keyboards my dad used to bring home (scrap ones). I was aware that it kinda reminded me of early 80’s computers, but it’s that whole orange/black bone/black combo that makes me think of the Modular One system. I’m not sure if those keyboards came from Modular Ones, or if they were from some other CTL / ITL machine.

So that explains that.

So anyhow, I’ve ordered the keycaps, because I’m weak and they’re pretty, and I’ve also started to nose around for a mechanical key tester (one with a USB connector so that they can actually serve a purpose as a num pad later), and then I’ll need to work out if I really want to fork out the cash for a keyboard kit, or whether just buying a keyboard and slapping the keycaps on will do me.

 

Car, house, life.

So, I made a spreadsheet. I can’t be bothered to deal with the fun and games of raw HTML editing at 10pm on a Saturday night so you just get a picture of it.

Really it’s a “pro-con” list. We’re thinking about whether we can afford a used EV replacement for our hybrid.  And this is how it’s looking. Realistically, because we want to be able to visit Nikki / Kate / Fam down in Oregon, we need something with DC rapid charge, or the range to get there without charging.

Spreadsheet of car costs/actual prices / ranges Pro-con.

Of course, this is entirely theoretical. Basically, because I’m changing job and have my ‘summer pay’ saved, I’m contemplating whether that, plus the sale of the car, might mean we can pull together enough to make the switch possible.

Sadly, having looked at charger locations, we think a 24kW Leaf isn’t going to do it. It would mean that we would essentially have to stop in Castle Rock on the way to see friends, and given the number of Trump signs, and the shitty shitty greeting our friends got in a café there, we think that’s not somewhere we want to spend ages if we don’t have to.

Also, a 24kW Leaf would mean we have no extra leeway should a charger be down. With the Soul EV or a newer 30kW Leaf then we’d actually be able to make it to one of the other chargers, if we were gentle.

Whether it’ll happen or not depends on a few things – one of which is whether we’re going to manage to sort out the house, and how much it might cost. The house we were looking at and super positive about fell through. The owner had no interest in replacing the End-Of-Life and believed-to-be structurally unsound roof, unless we paid half. And then we discovered the termite issue. 9 years without treatment, then they found termites…

…so, does it have a wall? Or does it have a sheet of plasterboard on some ornamental lace-trim woodwork?

Who can say?

Certainly not us, it turns out, without ripping apart the walls. Which would have been a whole other debate, but since the roof debate didn’t seem to be moving in our favour, we abandoned ship.

So we’re on the hunt again, and looked at three entirely terrible houses today.

  • Terrible house the first seems to be attempting to make good its escape by slipping quietly down the hill. Bonus points to this one for having a building (shed) so shonkily supported that I declined to even attempt to look in it for fear that it might fall several feet down into the ravine.
  • Terrible house the second actually could be quite cool. It’s an ex-creamery, but in the 1980s it had what I would call an extremely shoddy residential conversion. The carpet appears to have been laid directly onto concrete floor making the building so damp you could actually see the rising damp watermark on some of the doors. It still has the fridge door and a great delivery space that could be amazing. Indeed, I was trying to convince myself that we could do something cool with it when we noticed the dirty great cracks in the wall and around the roof. Structural failure makes it beyond us, sadly. Also, loud, loud road.
  • Terrible house the third was a 1940s rambler that’s been rented to someone who appears to have been morally opposed to cleaning. Ignoring that, and the fact it broadly needs gutting, and a garage reinstating where there’s a room with a giant fireplace….and the washer/drier… oh, and the chimney reopening and providing with at least some ventilation (because it’s got mould appearing on the wall where it’s just panelled in)…and the fact that the roof looked shonky as all hell… ignoring all that…oh, and the crappy electrical panel… ignoring all that – it had black mould on two of the walls in the bedroom. The realtor tried to persuade us it just needed some abatement. Personally, I think a match and some petrol should sort all the building’s problems

So, that wasn’t exactly a raging success.

On the life front, I can now formally state I’m going back to the Emergency Department. Teaching this year led me to a place I don’t particularly wish to return to, of stress, feeling bleak, and feeling like I wasn’t able to serve the students. Rather than subject myself to another year of that I applied to my old place of work and they kindly gave me a job.

I’m hoping that I’ll get to return to doing some stuff with Transport Evolved, too, which would be cool.

In other, other news, my Macbook seems to be intent on dying. It’s taken to randomly switching itself off for no obvious reason (obviously, it’s decided to start doing this immediately after I bought it a new charger). I’ve put myself on the list for a Pinebook, which is certainly not meant to be a proper laptop replacement, but… the plan is to have an actual functional desktop (for video editing, if required…) and so hopefully this will just be my dinking box. Also, with luck, if I need something more beefy, for the time being I can run it on the media server.

Anyhow, hopefully my 9 year old Macbook will hang on a bit longer.

And that, my loves, is the news.

Well, that lasted a long time

So that last post may have been premature. We knew that there were potential problems with the house because of the structural / roof issues; what didn’t occur to us (until Kathryn talked to our mortgage broker today) is that me changing job would be a huge-ass problem.

Apparently, because I’m changing job, if I have a probationary period (which I do) they won’t lend to us until that’s over. So I’m going to call my new workplace tomorrow and beg/plead/politely request that they consider nixing the probationary period (I worked there before for 6 months, so I’m hoping they’ll consider this).

Otherwise, well, we’ll put the problem to our realtor – but actually we found out more stuff about the cost of putting a roof on that we’re willing to consider – and that may be enough of a crimp that we decide against it. But then there’s the joy of the fact that we can’t then look for a house until the end of the summer.

So, well, let’s see how this goes tomorrow.

Given how the past year and half has gone, I’m not feeling vastly optimistic.

Things may get less quiet around here.

Or more quiet. Who can say.

We’re looking at a house. We’ve had an offer accepted, but the survey (inspection) revealed some significant concerns. Well, really one significant concern that breaks down into a number of significant minor concerns.

Tomorrow, or possibly Tuesday, we go back to the sellers with our “fix these things” offer – and we’ll see if they’re happy to accept it.

If we get it, there’s actually a fair bit of work there. The electrics need updating, although that wasn’t obvious before hand, there’s some decorative work, and it needs a new bathroom. This is certainly no-where near the level we were at with the Bristol house, but it should be enough to keep me entertained through the summer.

The other news is that I’m planning to change job. Back to nursing again. Not full time though.

Hopefully I’ll get back to feeling a bit more like myself, and a bit less like I’m wanting to weep through each day. I clearly am feeling a bit more like myself, because we went into a bookshop today (just B&N), and I ended up walking out with books and feeling pretty excited about some other ones that I didn’t end up getting.

This is a feeling that I’ve really missed. Excitement about things.

I’m not exactly sure what our future holds at the moment. We’re both pretty wrung out. But at least I’m feeling more like there is some future.