I ain’t dead (still)

Meh, been lazy – evidently – in writing here.

So, I’ll try to recap. Two three weeks ago was my birthday, naturally. Nothing too crazy – dinner with F2 & Emily, saw 21 & Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and on Sunday ended up down at the boardwalk at Santa Cruz. That was quite amusing – it was darn good to get out into some sunshine finally. It is warming up here – there’s been quite a few nice days in the last week or two. It did help me discover that I can’t quite handle the more boistrous rides… at least, not after forcing down comically-oversized baked pancaky apple-y things from “The Original Pancake House” or whatever they’re called. The one that isn’t IHOP but still isn’t nearly as good as the Pancake Parlour. Anyway, yes, stuffing self with giant baked thing prior to being flung upside sideways is apparently no longer within my powers of constitution. At least not like it used to be, anyway. :)

It did remind me though that another trip to Six Flags or somesuch is warranted this summer, to get what may well become a once-yearly roller coaster fix. That or a road trip to Cedar Point. ;)

Anyway… so, what else have I done in the past few weeks… well, on my birthday itself I posted off a cheque to pay off my car completely. Yesterday in fact the title arrived in the mail, too, as well as a random $31 refund because they apparently over-quoted the payoff amount or something, I guess. Woot!

So I alone now own my car; it’s good to know I’ve achieved maximum rate of depreciation. ;)

I am of course now tormented by the decision as to when I should sell; when the “sweet” spot arrives for use made vs resale value, etc. This has been poked, as well, by sightings of what I presume are this year’s model of the Civic, which look a little sharper and remind me that my car is now well an truly obsoleted, in marketing terms. As far as I know the new ones are no different mechanically, though.

Alas, Prius’ are still too darn small and lunchboxy, Corvette’s are just slightly too much a “white guy’s sportscar”, Elise’s are a little more than I’d be comfortable paying (though, soooo tempted)… and although the VE Commodore has great appeal on many levels – including price, at ~$30k – fuel economy is not one of them (though I find it reasonably impressive that the 6.0L engine is approximately the same as the 3.6L in that regard). Also, random tidbit of the week, next year’s Commodore will apparently have the option of using the 6.2L engine currently in Corvettes.

Anyway, I digress as per usual. Other than that, the last few weeks have been work work work.. busy times, what with WWDC coming up and all that. I love WWDC, but, the two months leading up to it are annoying when you’re an employee rather than an ecstatic attendee. Those damn 3rd party developers don’t know how good they’ve got it. :)

So, after paying off my car I started thinking more about both holiday(s) and upgrading my home machine… the Quad’s been so very kind to me, but apparently we’ve just switched to these Intel things, so it’s probably worth switching over in the long run. ;) That and the new iMacs – well, the 8800GS’d one – did actually strike a value chord. So I said “hooray for credit cards!” and ordered one.

It took it about five days to travel the six hours from L.A., going naturally via Sacramento – U.S. couriers once again showing their finesse – but the delay didn’t matter too much as I’ve been so busy the last week that even after I got it on Monday, I hadn’t even transferred all my crap over until Thursday or so, let alone actually do anything.

Of much consternation was whether the 8800GS would stand up to its paper specs. The first game I ran, Halo, wasn’t promising – FSAA isn’t usable at all, and though Barefeats seem to have squeezed the number “127” out of it for FPS, the reality is it’s just not smooth. Probably still better than the Quad with the Quadro, though it’s been months since I’ve played so I can’t recall accurately.

Last night I tried Pirates of the Caribbean Online on it – the game that I went to the trouble of getting into the beta for many many moons ago, only to discover it does not work on any nVidia cards on the G5. It works fine on the new machine, but the graphics are pretty crap anyway, and the game has a lot of bugs which make it very annoying… I played for an hour to confirm my suspicion that 90% of your time is spent running or sailing in a straight line, and that you can’t actually do anything interesting without forking over the moolah, then killed it.

Finally I tried AoE 3. At last I got some sort of confirmation; it runs at maximum settings very very well. It’s still slightly CPU bound once you get enough units going, but the difference to the G5 is night and day. And, happily, it seems to run at least as well as on a first-gen Mac Pro with the 1900, so thus far I’m not regretting my choice of iMac over Mac Pro.

Anyway… now that I have no immediate debts and a shiny new machine to tide me over at least until next year, the only thing left to do is actually make plans for my holiday this year. I haven’t got any as yet, of course, but, it’s now top of my list of ways to maintain fiscal neutrality. :)

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