PDR Update: August Already?

Alright. Let’s see what I need to update us all on:

Most significant is the fact that I had to get a new computer after my last laptop failed on me. It was a fairly gradual death at first, getting slower and slower as it went, so I had backed things up fairly recently. I lost about two weeks of research notes and the bookmarks in my browser. That is such a small amount of loss that I can accept it happily, but I’d sure like to be able to hop back on there long enough to get those notes back…

Anyway, the new laptop is nice and fast and has as much space as my external hard drive (I ought to get a new one of those by this point). I already expect that the problems with this one will be focused around the power charging outlet thing. The little prong inside looks worryingly fragile.

I have not quite had time to really organize things on the new computer yet, but it definitely could be a good computer from what I can see, and could have been a much worse loss of information.

Apart from that, the main detail of the last few weeks is that I twisted my ankle. If anyone wants to see a picture of my bruised foot all swollen up so it looks like a big gross baby foot, I have such a thing. In spite of how much time I have already lost to hospitals this year, I was convinced to have this injury examined by medical professionals. It turns out that I did chip a bone, but it also turns out that the medical advice was basically just rest and cold and elevation and all of that is what I would have done without spending hours in hospital waiting rooms. Oh well.

Okay here we go.

As mentioned in my posts to Twitter, I’ve had something of a troubled couple weeks comptuer-wise. My previous laptop took up the habit of melting the plastic tips of any plugs that I’d put into it (possibly caused by dirt in the plug port thing, but definitely exacerbated by the melted plastic that wound up in there as a result). I’m unable to get the plastic out on my own, so I’m left unable to charge the laptop. I had time enough to transfer files to my external hard drive with the charge that remained, so I haven’t lost anything but time (and the money I’ll have to fork out when I do get it repaired).

Thanks to the generosity of my mother, I’ve got a replacement laptop up and running. With this being the middle of final essay/exam season, I’ve had other things to work on, so I’m behind on SecGov Robots and things, but I’ll remedy that by just finishing the current story all in one week. That should get things back on track.

I hacked my keyboard… to death.

Okay, so, the keyboard on my laptop was looking pretty dirty, as keyboards are wont to do after a time, so I got a brilliant idea into my head: maybe spray some cleaning fluid on there and generally improve things.

So anyway, because of the obvious things that are wrong with that, I’ve not had a functional keyboard for a couple of days. I got by with the onscreen keyboard thing, but it was a hassle, not least because the malfunctioning physical keyboard was spitting out letters. But now I have disconnected the bad keyboard and have a usb keyboard deal to use for the typings. It isn’t the ideal situation I would have had if I had not been an idiot, but it is good to at least be functional again.

New Computer News

I mentioned this in passing last week, but I keep forgetting to go into further detail: I have spent my last pre-student paycheck on a new laptop.

This is the first time that I’ve went and got a new computer before my current one had some kind of catastrophic failure. Sure, my old one (Computron Rex) has plenty of issues, and seems to be getting worse all the time, but it is technically still a functional machine. That means, for the first time, I’ve got two computers on the go. And it is pretty effing sweet.

The new computer, an Asus model of some kind, seems really good. It is very fast compared to its predecessor and it is light enough that it probably will be able to function as a portable option in ways that that one never did. This is, of course, important now that school is happening. Most importantly it prevents me from worrying that my computer will die while I am needing it for school and I’ll be too poor to do anything about it.

I also have my weird computer naming policy that nobody cares about but me. I have to call it Computron Something, but I’m not entirely sure what. In chronological order, the computers I’ve owned were Computron, Computron V, Computron X, and Computron Rex. Where do I go from there? What’s better than Rex? My first thought was Computron Dei. Also, there’s the undead-based nickname that I have to apply as well, out of tradition. But I’m pretty sure I’ve used up all the best kinds of undead creatures. frankensteins, zombies, ghosts, and vampires I have used. So what is this guy? Sure there are options like maybe a lich or skeleton or mummy or something, but in a lot of ways those guys are just tricked-out zombies. As I pondered, my brain immediately started making the case that angels can be undead (in religious theory this is obviously not true, but we’ve all seen movies and stuff where dead folk become angels after death, so those guys would surely qualify).

Notice a pattern? My first thoughts for both of the naming conventions I use on my computers seem to be overselling this laptop to religious proportions. For the time I’m going to not officially name my new computer and we’ll see how well it lives up to my apparent subconscious impressions.

Anyway, now you are all up to date on my computer situation.

I Need The Money

All week I’ve been talking about worries I have about going back to school apart from money. Well, the last one is money. I’m so worried about money it even shows up on the list that explicitly excepts it.

My financial state has not been good this year, that is for sure. As you may recall I even went so far as to get a roommate to help with rent because I wanted to climb out of debt (that hasn’t worked, by the way, what with the roommate apparently deciding that paying rent was optional and leaving half-eaten plates of food around would suffice). So here I am, kinda screwed. Still in the worst financial state I’ve ever been in and I’m quitting my source of income to go to school, which I have to pay for. Not the wisest plan.

I have no idea how people afford things. People out there have cars and smoke and drink and can apparently pay for all these things somehow. People have pets and children that do nothing but drain their resources. I don’t get it. At the job I am leaving I made a pretty decent amount of money, but it never seemed to get me anywhere. After rent and bills and stuff, I made enough to occasionally buy a dvd or a book (though not as often these last few years). I guess I did travel about once a year, but always as cheaply as I could. And anyway, it seemed like that was always coming out of credit, rather than ever being the result of any amount of money being saved. I’ve met people who can go on week-long trips at least yearly, whereas all but two of my trips in the last five years have been crammed into weekends without missing work. No monetary progress has ever been made.

I guess a lot of the people out there have people helping them, spouses or families who also have an income to help out. But still, it seems like I should be climbing out of this hole faster than not at all. I know I pay a lot for rent, so that’s a big chunk. I also give a little to some charities every month. That takes up a little of the money too. I am lucky that I don’t eat much, but when I do eat it often includes restaurant takeout and fresh produce oranges/apples/grapefruit/melons. That stuff probably adds up. I have always tried to pay back more than the minimum payments on my credit card, but the debt just grows and grows. Every time the statements look good some other fee comes out of nowhere and keeps me from getting closer to paying anything off. Are those four types of expenditures enough to use everything I earn?

And if they are, how am I going to manage without the money I make now? It looks bad.

Continuing my attempt to look on the bright side I find that the bright side of this is pretty bittersweet. First of all, I’ve cut my charitable donations by more than half. That makes me hate myself all the more, but it will probably be helpful. I always credited those as the reason for getting so much back on my income tax, though, so I sure hope I don’t end up with less coming back to me, or worse, owing money.

Another sad victory, Amazon has told me it can’t find a copy of the Black Panther Masterworks to give me. It’s good because it saves me like forty bucks, but also it is sad because I want to own those comics.

Perhaps I have to look for this silver lining from a different angle. How’s this: I’ve got a paying job now, which means I can just barely afford to buy a laptop before I go to school. So I did that yesterday. I have a new laptop. I’ll talk more about that in the future.