Two Firsts Today

     So I had two Firsts in my life today, one good, one bad.

     I’ll start with the bad.

     I got into my fiance’s car this evening to go shopping for new headlights for my car since one just went out. Suddenly I felt a pain in my right leg. I rubbed it and it stopped. It happened again. I did the same thing. Then it happened again. Okay I think something is biting me on my leg. I pull up my jeans and something falls off my leg. At first I excuse it as a strange object. Then I see something small and moving across the mat on the floor. However since the mat is black I can’t tell what it is. So I keep looking. Then I notice ants on it. Then I notice them crawling all over my sneaker. Then I notice them walking up my sock. Then I notice them on my leg itself and … OW! I’m getting attacked by quite a bunch of fire ants!

     Realizing what is going on I scream out that I’m getting bitten and attacked my ants to my fiance. I quickly try to brush them off or kill them before they can bite any more. Unfortunately one gets on my left thumb and bites the top of that. I keep getting bitten as I try to swipe them off. My fiance finds a place to pull over. I open the door and continue to swat at ants on my leg and still they manage to crawl up somehow and bite me. This goes on for some minutes even after my fiance removes the mat from the car.

     Of course as this all happened I thought back to the large ant hill at the end of our yard by the street edge. I was always suspicious of it but my fiance kind of waved it off. Now I knew for sure it was a fire ant hill and somehow I had stepped on it or too close to it before getting into my fiance’s car. (Which was parked on the road.) Least to say they started this war and I’m going to finish it with a vengeance. And yes fire ant bites REALLY HURT.

     Now the good first.

     Today at work I cataloged my first original record. Actually my first FIVE original records. This is a big deal as I’ve been copy-cataloging all this time. I added new records to the online record database (OCLC). Whoooo. One step closer to being a fully fledged cataloger. I’ll be adding even more original records soon. (I’m waiting for my boss to finish reviewing my work and giving me the okay to update the holdings on them.)

Some story plots that irk me – pt. 1

1. Killing off older characters, or anyone offering help to the ‘hero.’

     First off this has become so freaking predictable. Some older person comes around an offers some grand wise advise. Moments later they are killed by a villain.

     Please stop now. Please. If your ‘hero’ must proceed on their own, find some other way to separate the characters.

     I find plots much more enjoyable when they are multi-generational.
     

2. Character who is old and experienced gets their butt kicked by a newbie.

     Okay. White belt meets black belt. And white belt not only easily wins but wins by a mile. Riiiight. How often do you seriously expect this to happen? Be honest now.

     You might be able to explain it off by experienced fighter being off guard. Might. You can try “my goodness and virtue trump your skill.” I might buy that. Once.

     Seriously though. Experienced people should act accordingly. People just learning a skill should stumble. Let the newbie have to work and use strategy. It makes both characters believable.
     

3. Arranged marriages are terrible things, and only the woman can complain about it.

     This is a two-in-one lament.

     First the perception that arranged marriages are terrible things. How awful of your parents to marry you to a complete stranger. How unloving and uncaring.

     Um in some cultures and time periods arranged marriages are/were normal and accepted. I’m willing to bet when possible the parents checked out the prospective spouse-to-bes. They just spent years supporting and loving their children. They would make sure their future spouse could take care of them.

     Now some arranged marriages were made to create or solidify a truce. Okay. But that doesn’t automatically make their spouse-to-be automatically bad.

     Second issue: only women can lament about it.

     Here’s the obvious fact. It takes two people to make a union. Both of them are having their spouse picked out by their family. Both are in the same boat.

     And yet I read about the woman lamenting on the unfairness of it all. Not the man. She cries. Not him.

     The message to the future husband must be “suck it up and be man.” And if he does lament: he’s complaining, he’s feeling sorry for himself (ignoring the fact the future bride is doing this), he’s a wimp, a baby, etc.

     Wow. What a message to send to all the men out there. Deal with it. Tough luck. Who cares how you feel.

     It gets worse when he’s portrayed with really bad personality problems. He’s cruel, controlling, abusive, harassing, alcoholic, etc. Then comes the clichรฉ of the woman being rescued from this bad marriage by a handsome kind man. And I try not to gag.

     How about a story where both people in this arranged marriage have to deal with the uncertainty of it all? They have to learn about each other. Maybe they’re from different countries and cultures and have to learn those. They try together to make their marriage, their treaty, work. No over angsting. No handsome person to rescue them.

     There are more plot points that irk me, but I’ll just start with these.

And for Valentine’s, I got…

     My car back from the repair shop aka Dealership.

     Backing up now. A little over a month or so, I took Haku in for an oil change. It turned out my belts were cracking. The oil change place did not have them in stock. So as soon as we could, Giuliano and I took the car to Pep Boys to get the belts replaced. Now the priced they quoted on the phone turned out to be only for 1 belt. The person on the phone didn’t realize there were 2. So they kept to the price and changed them.

     A week later I started having problems turning my steering wheel. Then as I turned the wheel too far in one way or another, the belt squealed really loudly.

     Haku went back to Pep Boys, but they were already busy with repairs. I mentioned the car was getting hard to turn and the person I talked to came out to look at the car. We turned the wheel as he watched. He said that when we turned it, the pump stopped working and the belts were getting frayed. Now Giuliano had checked the belts earlier, and one seemed loose. The guy pressed on it and said it was tight enough. The mechanic said the pump or the rack was failing. However they had to order a pump. As this was right before MLK, we worried who would be open. We decided to go to Subaru, the dealership, for the repair. If it was something slightly major, we wanted a professional taking care of this car.

     My car went to Subaru on Jan 17th, and the verdict was.. the belt was loose, the pump is fine.

     Now I had noticed a noise under the hood from time to time after the belts were replaced or so. But it went away, so I couldn’t take it anywhere since they wouldn’t hear it. The noise remained, even though I had hoped it was related to the previous car problems. Then it started to happen more often and get worse. Finally it didn’t really go away.

     So I convinced Giuliano to take Haku back to Subaru and an appointment was made on Jan 30th. At first it seemed that the crankshaft was bent. Then the news got worse.. much MUCH worse.

     The bolt that held the pulley for the crankshaft got loose. The key ripped off and the end of the crankshaft got chewed up. Unfortunately by the time I heard the noise the damage was already done. The whole engine block had to be replaced. The rest of the engine was in good shape and could be rebuilt into the block.

     Subaru lent me a loaner for free, a 2006 Subaru Legacy sedan (blue), complete with a sun roof and leather interior. I enjoyed driving it a couple of times, but I spent most of the time depressed about Haku.

     Finally today I got word that my car repairs were done. The final verdict, the block was replaced with a new one, the oil pump was built into the block and was stuck so it was replaced, and the timing belt was stuck so that had to be replaced too. The repair cost just over $5,100. ๐Ÿ™

     Giuliano and I came to an agreement on the repairs. I, of course, cannot afford a repair that costly. So Giuliano paid for the repairs. In turn all of my tax refund will go to Giuliano to pay him back for repairs. I’ll also most likely have to divert money to him whenever possible to continue to pay off the repairs. (Depending on how much of a refund I get.)

     So instead of a nice dinner and a nice engagement ring for 5k, I got a new engine block, oil pump, and timing belt.

     *Sighs.*

     Well at least there aren’t many big repairs left now. The car should last till at least 160k or so now, I hope. Now I just have to get used to driving Haku after driving the loaner for 3 weeks.

“Radical Militant Librarian”.. soo, can I get that added to my job title?

I wanted to blog this a few days ago, but work always keeps me busy, and weekends are busy doing things I can’t on weekdays. That and recently our internet connection has been having problems.
On Tuesday I was listening to NPR while driving to work. I was listening to them talking about the Patriot Act. At the time I was too busy watching traffic ahead of me to really listen all too closely. That is until I heard this, “While radical militant librarians kick us around, true terrorists benefit from OIPR’s failure to let us use the tools given to us.”

Quoted from the NPR report found here.

Radical Militant Librarians, eh? I suddenly had the urge to wiggle my fingers while saying “OOoooo” in a spooky voice. (For those who do not know, I work as a library assistant.)
Already I have seen a spark in cafepress items related to this.
So can I have that added to my official job title? It sounds nice and powerful and needing of a pay raise. ๐Ÿ˜€
Well I guess I should go and gather together some camouflage clothing for work. Though I’m not exactly sure what one considers as camouflage in a library setting.

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. ๐Ÿ˜›

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