Sunday, September 14, 2008

Brother, can you spare $3000?

Alright, so I've always been interested in getting a motorcycle at some point. The idea of driving around all the time in a giant truck that gets terrible gas mileage really annoys me, especially considering that at least 90% of my driving is single-passenger short trips where I don't need to carry anything. It's just a means from getting from one point to another. So recently I've been looking into what it would entail to get a motorcycle. I finally narrowed it down to the type of bike I'd like to get, how much it would cost in maintenance, administrative fees (licensing, safety course, insurance, etc.), accessories like a helmet and some good saddlebags, and gas. I figure that getting a bike, all said and done, will probably cost me around $75 a month plus $3000 to get a decent, reliable, gas-friendly bike that doesn't require a lot of maintenance and isn't some huge beast that makes all kinds of noise and isn't much different than a small car. The $75 is pretty feasible considering how little I spend on general living expenses, but coming up with $3000 is another story. So, I've been pondering different strategies for coming up with the money. I'd prefer to raise it in a year or less, and taking out an extra 3 grand in student loans is out- I'll be getting enough of those as it is, so adding to that for an (arguably) unnecessary expenditure isn't really a good idea. I've got a few things I can sell that I definitely wouldn't miss, but I don't have that much stuff as it is so I can't count on sales income for very much.. less than $500, I'm guessing. So that's my conundrum: how to raise $3000 in a year, and how to do so without bending over backwards or making poor financial decisions. Ultimately I see a motorcycle as a responsible purchase, both economically and environmentally, for the type of driving that I do, especially considering that my truck is getting old and maintenance and upkeep is probably going to start going up while reliability will slowly start going down. The question now is how to get there. Any ideas? Donations are accepted, by the way.
1986 Honda VT500 Shadow. Exactly what I'm looking for.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Taking the Red Pill..

Some big changes are coming down the pike here at Needs Improvement. First, I've decided to get rid of my facebook account. Every day Facebook's marginal utility grows smaller and smaller, and every day its potential for becoming more of a liability than an asset grows larger. Coupled with the constant changes, not to mention being run by a mid-20s jackass, it's time to move on. We've had some great times, sure, but there are other things to focus time on, and a poorly-managed internet distraction isn't one of them right now. Maybe I'll come back one day, who knows, but there have been very few things I've regretted giving up in the past, so we'll see.

Second, the part I'm much more excited about, is the change I'm going through with my desktop. I've had a desktop computer since late 2004, and it's served me well. But lately, it's been running slow, stalling, acting weird, and generally showing signs of fatigue. It's not the hardware, as I've checked it all out and it seems to be fine. Nope, it's the operating system. I've had some good times with Windows XP, but it doesn't have the utility or the appeal that it used to. Since I got a Mac, I've pretty much only used XP to print stuff, and even then it's rare that I print anything at home anymore. So, I've decided to wipe my hard drive (after backing everything up, of course) and install the newest distribution of Ubuntu Linux, 8.04 Hardy Heron. I've used Linux for a while now on a previous laptop, so I'm familiar enough with it to know what I'm doing. I look forward to seeing how much faster my computer operates when it's not burdened by the monolithic Cloverfield monster that is Windows XP. I'll post updates soon on the transition process, which I expect to be pretty minimal. Ubuntu, here I come (again).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cowboys: Week One

Alright, so it looks like the RNC speech series is going to be limited to one post, since John McCain's speech wasn't worth blogging about. Boring, unsubstantive, and just plain uninteresting. The Walter Reed screwup was about the only worthwhile thing to come out of that speech, and I can't really say anything on that that hasn't already been said. Way to drop the ball, GOP.

The most important recent news, however, is that the Cowboys have officially started their road to Super Bowl XLIII. The season opener against the Browns was everything I could've hoped for. Romo was awesome, Marion Barber's still a bulldozer, and some of our new pickups showed that they were the right choice for draft picks. Felix Jones was the most impressive of the game, I thought. He didn't get a whole lot of playing time, but he seemed untouchable and proved every speculation true that he's probably going to be a badass. The biggest problem so far, like last season, has been penalties, although the Browns drew enough penalties themselves that ours didn't seem that bad in comparison. I can't wait to see what the 'Boys are capable of this season, and I anxiously await week two this upcoming weekend. Go Cowboys!

Image copyright The Fantasy Kickoff

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

RNC Speeches Part One: Sarah Palin

While this will be short, I will say that I think Palin's speech was awkward and ill-rehearsed. It was mostly read from a teleprompter, and I found parts of it to be misleading and some of it downright dishonest (example: she denounced the bridge to nowhere as wasteful government spending, even though she supported it during her run for governor and even lobbied for $223 million dollars to be appropriated for it).

Also, her midwest accent is just annoying. Sorry midwesterners, but you sound like America's Canadians. It's just a fact.

I can't wait to see Obama and Biden tear apart McCain and Palin in the debates, when they're actually able to respond to the misrepresentations the GOP keeps parroting (example: Obama's tax plan).

I'll blog about McCain's speech after tomorrow night in more detail, since I'll be taking notes.