Faith in finance brings me Ruby Vroom

If you missed the last entry, we learned that my Kia Soul did not survive  a collision, and that was the end of that. (And I’m fine, because we also learned that’s the first question you’ll ask).

I have a new vehicle: a 2015 Subaru Forester.

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It has just under 50k miles, and represents a couple notches of improvement im bith size and over-all quality from the vehicle it replaces.

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Even so, my payments are about the same. How is that possible?

Turns out I had gap insurance after all.

At least, that is the theory. There are a list of people, office professionals, who were going to contact me and confirm the details, and none of them have done so. Even the down payment check has taken nearly a week to clear.

But, as far as I know, I bought a car for the same money that I owed on the previous one.

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I named her Ruby Vroom – refering to the Soul Coughing Album, her color, and her tendency to go faster than you expect. A more complet review coming in a few weeks.

Assuming I still have her, of course.

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WORD COUNT:

1000 words of new Taliesin’s Last Apprentice content.

1500 of 2nd draft TLA content

500 words for Thursday Night writer’s group.

500 words for editing Go Action Fun Time material and

1000 words for playtesting Go Action Fun Tie at my house last Sunday. This could become a regular thing.

Missed it by 500 words.

I will live with myself.

Now we know.

 

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How my Soul was crushed

A serious car wreck – even without injury – yes – is a life-changing event for those of us treading water in the middle class of western civilization. I was in a serious car accident. Before we get to that:

 

GO ACTION FUN TIMEGAFT basic rules cover

MY HOUSE – Sunday April 7 at 3pm.

Because I can.

 

More about Go Action Fun Time here.

In my world, play-testing now counts as an Author Event.

 

Ahem. To the topic at hand:

At about 7am on March 28th, I proceeded northbound on 83rd Avenue into its intersection with Camelback Road and WHAMMO!.

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Post Whammo!

The light had just turned green for the northbound 83rd. I was first into the intersection. A passenger van heading eastbound on Camelback ran the red light to strike the driver’s side front corner of my 2013 Kia Soul hard enough to spin my vehicle 180 degrees, and deploy the airbags.

FAQ’S:

  • Yes. I am fine. A bit of whiplash. Some bruising.
    • I was not treated on scene.
    • Nobody else involved in the accident was injured enough to be treated on scene.
    • I went home via ride-share.
    • I have since seen my GP, who diagnosed some whiplash.
    • I am getting treatment for that.
  • Yes- I have everybody’s insurance info – or rather I have a copy of the Glendale Police report that has everybody’s particulars.
  • Glendale Police told me they were going to cite the other vehicle.
    • The officer told me they had reviewed the traffic camera, and it showed the eastbound light was red and the northbound light was green.
  • Nobody has officially claimed the car is totalled, but I expect that declaration Monday.
  • I have called insurance companies. I am awaiting their calls back.
  • I have not retained a lawyer.
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The white truck is just sneaking through the intersection before Glendale PD closed it.

What I’ve learned:

Everyone asks some version of the above questions, generally in that order. Particularly they are going to ask if you were hurt, even if you lead with the fact that you were not hurt.

I was not seriously hurt. Thank you for asking.

The rear hatch would not open on the accident scene. This would end up mattering…

We have previously disclosed some Strange Facts about my Kia Soul. They are worth reviewing.

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In better times…

If you skipped reading that, you need to know that I am upside down on the loan, and do not have gap insurance. This horrifying revelation is tempered somewhat by the realization that I was already screwed, and this just changes the particulars of how I am screwed. Most likely, I will end up paying a little more money for a little less car. The sun will rise in the morning.

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Get gap insurance if you finance a car. GAFDE.

I remain, at this writing, in tow-yard/ insurance process purgatory. (We have visited impound lots in this space before.) Glendale PD towed the remnants of my crushed soul to their lot. I could not even enter the lot without an ID that matches the name on the title. The name on the title is my ex-wife. She was kind enough to meet me last Saturday morning so I could try to recover my things out of my soul. But Farm Bureau, the insurance for the other driver,  had towed my soul to a different lot sometime late Friday, without telling me. No one from that company who might know where that lot was answers their phone on the weekend.

It turns out, though, that State Farm, my insurance company, sometimes uses the same lot. It’s popular with insurance companies. They were able to pull up the electronic inventory, and find my soul.

That lot is closed on the weekend.

They gave me a rental car, though.

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Yes – seriously.

I don’t know what the future truly holds in store for me, but I like to think it holds some vehicle with a roof rack.

And not nearly so … red.

You were warned.

Vet Bill exposes the limits of generosity.

I haven’t paid the vet bill yet, but that day is certainly coming. First some housekeeping.

There’s been a bit of hiatus, I know, but most of what I have learned involved things off-limits to this blog: romance, finances, and the details of my day job.

Updates from the most recent posts: My back is healed. But I have long experience with these things, and was never worried – just annoyed.

I sold zero books at either KABAM or the Las Vegas Book Festival. But we have already learned that is not the point.

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Hualapai Mountain trail.

I did get a hike in around Kingman, and a bit of an adventure coming back from Flagstaff for day-job reasons. Those are at Are We Lost Yet.

Brazen Wonk has election endorsements, in case you are relying upon my opinion to inform your vote.

In the last few days, though, I have had  a lesson in the limits of generosity.

Earl brought home a cat he found on the highway. (Earl is my “room-mate”).

And this would be fine and even noble if:

  • He actually lived here or
  • He had the means to support a pet.

Since neither is true, has has brought me a cat to live indefinitely in my home at my expense.

I have named the cat Vet Bill. She’s about 7 months old, black/white/grey/and generally adorable. She comes (inexplicably for a street rescue) with a carrier, a litter box, and food bowl.

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Vet Bill meeting condition #1

You can have her right now if you want. I’ll even split the cost of spaying her.

See, I have two iron rules about creatures living in my house at my expense:

  1. Pee where you are supposed to
  2. Get along with the other residents. All of them.

Vet Bill sees Daphne, my daughter’s rabbit, as her lawful prey, and stalks the aging bunny relentlessly when she is free to do so. True, the other cats will torment the rabbit from time to time, but these episodes are occasional and short-lived.

Vet Bill has made stalking that poor rodent the focus of her life, and I do not have the time or skill to mitigate that. So she basically lives in the closet when either Earl of I aren’t around to police the living room. And she is on pace to live outside when (if) Earl goes off to Louisiana, as he plans to do by the end of the week.

I will not add chasing the cat into her closet to my morning or bedtime chores. She will live outside (or rather, in the garage) before I put either one of us through that.

Or – ideally – someone can come get her, and save her from my cruel tyranny. Seriously, I’ll split the vet bill with you. I know a very reasonable place.

Two things before anyone lectures me on kitty-whispering:

  1. I have never gone out and gotten a pet in my adult life. Every animal I have ever lived with has either squatted at my residence until I gave in and started feeding them, or has been abandoned on my doorstep by previous caretakers.
  2. All I hear is “I’ll come take the kitten off your hands…”

Actually, I will cheerfully deliver her.

Now we know.

 

WORD COUNT:

Two drafts of a chapter revision for Taliesin’s Last Apprentice = 2000

AWLY? Post about FR237 – The Bumpy Back Way into Sedona = 1000

Thursday night writer’s group = 500

Submitting One of 64 to a publisher = 500

Creating a video about my hike to Point Reyes National Seashore =1000

Writing the accompanying AWLY? blog (which goes online Thursday) = 1000

Random geography and other writer’s notes

Yes, the Thursday night writer’s group is still going, and I have been able to attend most of the meetings, despite my neglect of just about everything else that didn’t have money attached to it for the past six months.

Dolce Expresso closed, and we were sad – and homeless.

Restaurants make poor meeting places for writer’s groups.

1) the wait staff will interrupt the read-aloud without remorse – because they don’t know.

2) A large party tends to be put in a booth – which is troublesome.

3) You will baffle or annoy those around you.

BUT

4) (and most importantly) if you’re going to tie up a chair for two hours, you’ll need to spend $10+. A cup of coffee only buys you about 45 minutes.

Also, the particular restauraunt we chose slapped an 18% gratuity on all of our checks because we were more than six butts.

So now we meet at Urban Beans – and life is much better.

For those who attended – and those who enjoy random, out-fo-context facts:

There are two Kashkars – one in Kyrgyzstan (Kara-Kashkar), and one in Chines Turkestan (aka Kashgan). The latter was on the Silk Road and is at least 2000 years old in one form or another.

More famous than either one – at least according to Google – is Cafe Kashkar, your source for Uzebek cuisine in times square.

Novosibirsk, Siberia, is actually a big place, and lloaded with all the culture and class you would expect from Siberia. Actually, it odes contain a major university and the State Opera Academy.

Add this to your try before you die list: Absolut Pepper vodka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By-the-wind jellyfish (above) are properly called Velella Vellella.

And Ace Carson is not Buck Rogers. Really.

This is Buck Rogers:

(Yes, that’s Gil Gerard and Erin Grey – the stars of the late 70’s movie and TV series.)

Now You know

 

About damn time…

I promised some notes for the Thursday night folks, and they’re here, and you don’t have to skip down that far…

2nd edition AD&D came out when Excel was still almost strictly an accountants tool. By the time the RPG community discovred it, we had all collectively (and pretty much at the insistence of Wizards of the Coast) moved on to 3rd edition+. Consequently, there are no good Excel character sheets out there for ADD2. I spent longer researching this than any other item below (except the car keys).

The correct tire size for a 2006 Chevy Equinox 2WD LT with 16″ rims is: P23565R16 – which is the size of the tires in the front. It was not the size of the tires in the back which were both smaller and (consequently) balder than the front.  Or they were. $230 later and all the tires match – two of which are new. Related: 20 minutes on the internet saved me $30. Not a bad return.

The keys for that Equinox are either:

  • Within 100 feet of N33d 35.478   W 110d 36.618 (the campsite where I lost my keys) OR
  • Somewhere within the Equinox that can only be reached by tools.

Leaving an extra set of keys with your loving spouse will save you several hundred dolllars. The tank of gas and dinner for the in-laws involved in having them delivered was, then, pennies on the dollar.

2006 Chevy Equinox is the most frequent search term that leads to this site. But let’s talk about writing.

I have already written a little primer on how to seek and query literary agents: Quick & Dirty guide to finding agents

Writer’s Market and/or WritersMarket.com is the industry standard for finding an outlet for non-fiction articles and/pr short fiction (and basically anything else that’s not a book. The physical book is more complete, but tends to get out of date by the end of the year. The website (which requires subscription) has gotten mixed reviews for functionality. I’m about to subscribe myself – I’ll let you know.

[The book I linked to includes a free sub to the website.]

Meanwhile, freelancewriting.com has a less exhaustive but free listing of writer’s guidelines for various publications

Nerd-pron: Attack Vector Tactical

William Gibson’s Neuromancer

Allen Ginsberg’s Howl

Looking for Thai-American magazine markets leads you to Writer’s Market or site in Thai.

If you can re-map you keyboard from Windows – I dunno how. (And I looked). So there’s I failed to learn. Sigh.

I’ve been traveling, which is always full of lessons, but that will wait for next post – which will be sooner than 9 days.

Now You Know

Notes from the 1/14/10 Writer’s Group

Big group (11 writers at our peak). I would’ve have split into two groups if more people had brought work to read. As it was, you had two choices, read loudly, or bring a lot of copies. We had examples of both approaches.

Here are some relevant links:

Pine Ridge Reservation is a real place.

Em’s island is fictional, but based on the real Sandwich Archipelago in the south Atlantic/North Antarctic ocean.

www.ipulpfiction.com has some sort of Quicktime thing that locks up my browser. They have a $10 reading fee, which violates the Harlen Ellison Rule that money should always flow towards the writer, but they are up-front with the terms, and your odds are better than contest writing. Besides, some of that reading fee goes to one of our own.

An after-hours conversation brought up some interesting things:

That “long vowel sound” that your teachers beat into your head no longer exists. Its a relic from middle English (and several other languages) where a long vowel was just that – a vowel you held for multiple beats. It was abandoned in English around the 15th century, but its legacy still complicates our spelling. More on that here and here.

Finally, James Merill – poet – a brief bio from poets.org.

Now you know.

The pain in my ass and driving to LA

I have an acute lumbar strain. I’ve been suffering with this for a week. Its’ getting better, but slowly. I’m no longer 24.Though literally a pain in my ass (though mostly right above my ass), the experience has been instructive:

I’ll never really know how I did it. I suspect it awas a combination of abuse over several days – as the situation became gradually worse over several days.

If you can stand up, sit down and walk on your heels and then on your toes – you likely have just a muscle problem. You haven’t screwed up your spine.

A hot bath has been the single most effective treatment I’ve found for it. A hot shower, on the other hand, makes it far worse. Standing in one place and turning in a tight circle (and what else do you do in a shower?) all aggravate my situation.

Chronic pain drives my beer consumption up by 50%. (So that’s three beers/night instead of two – before anyone plans an intervention.) And so you know, Ibuprofin, even at 800mg, is not contraindicated with alcohol. I’m fine. Stop blocking the TV.

A week later, I’m at about 70% (up from my low of 45%), and it only hurts when I do something (like stand, or walk). It no longer throbs at night – and I’m fairly stoked about that.

And I can sit indefinitely – which is quite fortunate. Because I only missed a day and a half from work. There was nothing that preventred me from being able to drive a 16′ moving van to LA to fetch some followspots.

In California, the sign says “trucks and vehicle towing trailers – 55 mph”. The normal speed limit is 70 mph. I now know that “truck” in this sense means something with more than two axles. I didn’t know that on the way in – so I split the difference and averaged 65 mph.

No one wants to see your Ryder moving van in a weigh station. Drive on by. (I actually learned this lesson years ago).

Sometimes I have sat on a Phoenix freeway and thought “this is almost as bad as LA…”. And I was wrong.

If your company issues you a gas card for a particular brand of station, take some time, use the internet, and find all the locations for that brand along your route. There was a Shell station in Quartzsite, and had I known that, I would have saved myself a hundred rads of stress. I coasted into the Tonopah Shell on fumes, and only because I turned off the AC for the last 50 miles.

The guy comp’d my refill of coffee, though. That was cool.

Now you know.