Ex Bibliotheca

The life and times of Zack Weinberg.

Wednesday, 15 May 2002

# 8 PM

Turns out there's a ton of Internet resources for car buyers. Of course, it also turns out to be hella complicated and require wheeling and dealing. I hate wheeling and dealing. But I hate getting suckered more.

# 7:30 PM

So I'm looking into getting a new car. This is unpleasantly difficult. First off, car salesmen are really big on high-pressure tactics. You would think that if I walk into a dealership and say "I want to buy a car sometime in the next two months, I am looking to spend less than $25,000, whadya got?" this would put the discussion on a somewhat more relaxed footing. But no. They do not take my word that I want to buy a car. They try to convince me anyway. This does not strike me as good customer relations.

More seriously, the car companies are all assuming that their customers (a) have a track record of buying cars already, and (b) drive at least a thousand miles a month. Thus, for instance, the warranty on the drivetrain on a Toyota runs five years or 60,000 miles. In five years, assuming no major lifestyle changes, I will drive less than 20,000 miles. (Perhaps this is an unsafe assumption.)

Accordingly, all of the helpful calculate-your-payments webpages that the auto manufacturers have ask me multiple-choice questions to which the correct answer is invariably "none of the above" and I'm left not having any clue how much money will be involved. Well, the sticker price gives a ballpark figure, but 9% interest for however many years does add up.

# 2:40 PM


There's a whole village of spiders living in the window frame of my bathroom. I saw three this morning while showering. As I've said previously, I like spiders. And anything that stops flies getting in that window (which is open most of the time for ventilation) is good by me.

However, I am getting a little concerned. They don't seem to understand that it is not safe for them to come onto the inner windowsill, because they'll fall into the bathtub and be drowned. I would rather not have to worry about this every time I take a shower. Also, guests that need to use the shower may not be as egalitarian as me about sharing the apartment with spiders.

(Insects, mind, are not welcome.)


A week in deep hack mode means another sink full of dirty dishes. Once again I have to do two loads because there isn't enough space in the dishrack. I wonder how expensive those portable dishwashers that latch onto the sink spout are, and how difficult it would be to get one up the stairs.

# 12 PM

Trying to get back to a reasonable frequency of bloggery... let's start with some


One honest-to-gosh anxiety nightmare that left me not wanting to go back to sleep, in which my parents were being disappointed that I'd failed them by washing out of graduate school.

One surreal situation in which I was trying to play a complicated card game to which I did not know the rules, on a table piled high with kipple much of which was part of the card game. And impress a girl at the same time.

And another surreal situation in which all the GCC developers had gathered at someone's house to celebrate the release of 3.1 but I was having to talk someone down who was upset that his patches hadn't been included.


Here is the final paper I wrote for CS 260, and the presentation I gave.