I guess I'm keeping my car for a bit longer 
2011.04.08 09:55 - Meatspace Stupidity, News and Politics, Whining
This got me thinking about how long it would take for me to break even on replacing my current car. Assuming I replaced my $25000 car getting about 20mpg (hopefully, a bit low, but most of my driving is stoplight-to-stoplight) with a $15000 car getting 58mpg and assuming $5/gallon gas, it would take about 13 years (and some change) to break-even. I would have to be averaging less than 17 miles to the gallon just to reach break-even before the expected life of the new vehicle (about 10 years) is up. This doesn't take maintenance into account, of course.

But, that's an intentionally ridiculous estimate. I don't drive very much, but, on the other hand, the gas mileage estimate on my car is low and the one on the hypothetical nĂ¼car is fairly absurd for a car costing $15000--we'll leave motorcycles out of the equation, but that's where you'd have to go for those numbers. So, if we assume an annual distance of 15000 miles (almost double my annual mileage), but a more reasonable average mpg of, say, 38mpg and the current average gas price of $3.70 a gallon, it would only take ... a bit over 14 years. For a Ford Fiesta.

I guess I'll keep driving my inefficient little riceburner, then.

Incidentally, while the link at the beginning is a bit inflammatory, I'm not trying to score partisan points, here. I just thought it was interesting (and a little depressing) how much cars have to improve to make replacing mine worthwhile.
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Really Dorky Amazon Order 
2011.03.29 00:20 - Entertainment, Books, Meatspace Stupidity
Bought a hardcopy of The Laundry Files pen-and-paper RPG0 and a copy of Hacker's Delight, which will either be educational or mind-numbing, depending.

"I'll add a hardcopy [of Declare] to my next Amazon order[.]" Or at least I would do, except it seems to be out of print, and I don't feel like fooling with second hand books this evening. Still, good book. I recommend you check it out.

Also found some place selling Delta Green, which is supposed to be a modern military setting for the Call of Cthulhu game. So, I blew some money on that, too.0

Now, I'm going to try and behave myself until at least May.

Footnote:
0. I don't really have a good reason for why. I think it's unlikely I'll ever do more than read them.

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Well. That's a bummer. 
2011.03.27 13:45 - Guns, Meatspace Stupidity
I bought a couple of cheap AR mags from a local gunshop: they had a large box of them at $8.99 each. I'd done a little research before buying on the names stamped into the floorplate, which indicated that the manufacturer had a good reputation. Both are stamped:

ADVENTURE LINE MFG. CO., INC.
PARSONS, KS. U.S.A.

Black followers, heavy finish.

Wasn't until last night that I noticed both magazine bodies appeared a bit banged up. One has a dent that seems like it could cause feeding problems, the other has a nick in the hole for the magazine catch, and the area above the hole is pulled out.

Turns out, neither magazine fits right in my rifle's lower receiver. Doesn't fit right in the Armalite lower I'm working on, either. The magazines are very tight, and won't drop free. The one with the damaged magazine catch engagement was also pretty difficult to remove. And, of course, I didn't get around to checking any of this until after replacing the follower and floorplate on both magazines--and I've tossed the followers.

I've ordered a couple replacements from Bravo Company, and salvaged the aftermarket parts. Costs a little more per magazine this way, but only because of shipping.
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O fish, are you constant to the old covenant? 
2011.03.23 02:19 - Entertainment, Books, Microcode
I finished reading Declare, by Tim Powers, a little bit ago, which has been an interesting experience for multiple reasons.

For starters, I read nearly the whole thing on my phone, having purchased the Kindle version. I don't think I'll do that again, right away. Spending hours staring at the screen of my phone seems to be a sure-fire recipe for eyestrain, though it's otherwise an okay experience. I'm quite sure I still prefer paper, on the whole, but I suspect a Kindle device is in my future sometime in the next year or so.

Declare, itself, is an excellent novel and I recommend it. No guarantees you'll enjoy it, but I did. Especially if you've read Charles Stross' The Atrocity Archives, if only for the contrast between the two. I suspect I'll add a hardcopy of this book to my next Amazon order, in case I wish to lend it out.
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I don't see how the final result can live up to this 
2011.03.22 07:30 - Entertainment, Microcode, Internet Stupidity
but this Allies vs. Dino-Nazis thing is at least producing some fantastic marketing materials. Original link found at Everyday, No Days Off.
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