Category Archives: Life and What Of It

Happy Chinese New Year!

Celebrating Chinese New Year has become a thing for me the past few years, which is interesting, because I am not Chinese. It’s gotten easy to do so because my coworker is from Taiwan and we’re very good friends. It makes sense to go out to a real (not American) Chinese restaurant and get some delicious foods and tea to celebrate. He’s a good friend of mine, and I enjoy culture, so why not partake in some of the fun?

Besides, any reason to go to Shangri-La in Belmont is good by me. A big bowl of spicy beef noodle soup really picks me up, especially when I’m not feeling one hundred percent. Huzzahs all around!

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That new car smell

Today I took a new 2011 Mazda 3 s Sport hatchback from Wellesley Mazda in Wellesley. It’s a cool car.

It was a bit of a sad day for me, as I sent my first car that I bought with my own money, a red 1997 Pontiac Firebird, out to pasture.

In its place is a gunmetal blue 2011 Mazda 3 s Sport Hatchback. It’s a nice car, and it’s a good driver’s car. But a little part of me just died today by sending my old car away. It was getting old – the airbag light came on and off, the door was sagging badly, the driver’s side door lock wouldn’t power lock anymore. The power steering whined on cold days. The old suspension was very brutal on bad roads.

But I gave it one last go from a red light, and the motor and the transmission still had it in them. The positraction was worn, but still got the grip to the proper wheels. One last smile came to my face after feeling the torque slam the rear wheels. Death by a thousand papercuts was a great way to describe how this car went out. It served both of its owners well, and I hope that if it does find its way to someone else as a project car, they’ll treat it with the same respect I did.

Will I be happy with my new car? Absolutely. But this car will always have a place in my heart, with the memories of trips, trials, and tribulations in that automobile.

 

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It is time.

By March, I will own a new car. By hook… well, maybe not by crook. But you get the idea.

My 1997 Firebird will be going off to the great F-Body gig in the sky. I’ll miss it. It’s been a good car that served me well.

But it is time for a new chariot to come my way. It is time… for a Mazda 3.

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It’s a question we’re all wondering…

So, according to this payroll tax holiday thing, I’m expected to net around $75 more a month on my monthly paycheck by contributing less to my future retirement in social security (or to my parents’ payouts in a few years).

This means I lose the “Making Work Pay” tax credit, which was $400 off my normal income tax bill. This year, thanks to that credit, I got $288 back from the IRS. Had I not gotten that credit, I’d owe them $122. So in order to cover the shortfall for next year, I need to withhold about an extra $20 per month in Federal taxes (just to ensure I’ll have a very small refund next year). So I’m trying to figure out which is better.

Netting about $50 extra a month results in about $600 a year in added pay. That’s more than what I’d get back from a refund, definitely, but $50 a month isn’t much these days. It’s food, or gas. It helps, but it’s merely a token gesture. It won’t buy me a new car or dig me out of the same wall of debt that middle class people have, like student loans or a credit card. Alas.

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Beelzebub!

So we’ve managed to get not one, but two levels of Castlevania DLC in the span of eight days or so. I haven’t even mastered Legion and the things in his level yet, and now we have Beelzebub and his fucking flies. I’m convinced whoever made this level was a sadist, what with the trap filled “shortcut” around the side of the castle.

Plus, we now have winged boots, but with stats! That’s right, the Sonic boots, after spending all that time trying to get the regular winged boots, there’s new ones to get. You sly scoundrels, Konami!

Plus, the DLC train doesn’t stop, because in the next two weeks we’re getting new levels. Alas, I think there might be a break from Castlevania because one of the hotly anticipated sequels of the year will be out around that time. If you guessed Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, then you guessed correctly. Can’t wait for mustache Rad to rock the place.

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Stupid Supermarket Tricks

Dear Shaw’s:

Requiring people to buy three 12-packs to get the $3/per twelve pack price is preponderously stupid. Thanks for reminding me why I don’t usually shop at your stores except when absolutely necessary. Also, quit your other pricing shenanigans. Why, exactly, is nearly everything in your store more expensive than at Hannaford’s? They don’t even need fucking cards for it, either.

In short, Shaw’s (and by association your parent company that owns Albertson’s and tons of other supermarket chains) can die in a fire.

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Humorous Things English People Say

I’ve been churning through a lot of Top Gear on Netflix lately, catching up on a bunch of episodes I’d missed. One reason I love Top Gear is that  cars have an almost universal appeal, and you can get on with someone even if they’re separated by a common language. Englishman host the show, of course, and this reminded me of things English people say that are slightly different than our way of saying things.

For instance, something Gearoid would always do is pronounce YouTube as if it rhymed with chew. YouChewb. Or how Jeremy Clarkson uses all of those things so common in British car descriptions. Petrol. The bonnet. The boot. They call a GPS a SatNav. Oh, you crazy Englishman. That’s why I love you.

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Prickly Parking Practices

I generally have to park on the street where I live. The parking “lot” behind my building is diagonal parking, which would normally be fine… if both driveways were clear. Alas, one of my neighbors gets to park in the driveway for their spot. What a drag. Unfortunately, when it snows, the city declares an emergency that there is no parking allowed on any city streets. None at all. So if you’re one of the losers like me who parks on the street, you need to find an alternate place to shove your car.

Your choice is one of the municipal lots in town. There are a few lots that have covered parking, which is invaluable in a snowstorm. In the years I’ve lived here, I’ve become a parking pouncer. Nabbing one of those precious covered spots is an art, I tell you!

You could look like a dope circling around the interior, waiting for someone to leave while you spew gasoline. Luckily, right next to the covered garage are some opened municipal spots. Just park in one spot that has a view of the covered area, turn off the ignition, and wait. Likely within fifteen minutes someone will arrive and peel their car away. That’s your turn to strike. Most people will just give up after a few circles. Not us pouncers!

You might posit that the time I spent shoveling my car out of one of the uncovered spots may actually be lower than the time spent waiting for a free spot. You might be right. But I hate shoveling my car out of snow, and there’s always a risk that snow will drift underneath and give my low clearance car trouble. It’s best to just wait things out to get a covered spot.

Now the question is – will I have to get my butt out of bed tomorrow morning and go to work? We’ll see…

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The Last Post of 2010

The year in review:

It was so-so.

See you people in 2011.

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Curse you, snow!

Due to this blizzard that’s hitting the northeast as I type this, I was deprived of a delicious, home-cooked ham dinner. My mother makes delicious ham, hand-glazed with delicious baked-in garlic flavor. This is not the first time snow has thwarted delicious foods, of course, but it just feels wrong. Heck, I might not even go into work tomorrow, given that it’s supposed to snow all day on Monday.

Let’s not let snow get us down, though. Here’s one thing snow can’t thwart – Donkey Kong Country Returns. I need more games like this. It totally gets what makes DKC awesome, and the game hits all of the right notes. It just has one critical flaw – you can’t use the classic controller. Having to do waggle motions to roll or ground pound is a bit irritating. Still, that’s basically the only negative I can think of for the game. If you own a Wii, you must buy this game. There’s no reason for you NOT to own this.

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