Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two hundred and second

Wow, just noticed that I'd hit the 200-post mark. I had thought about doing something special for the 200th post when I was up to 193 or something, then forgot about it.

Oh well, never mind.

The car is on thin ice at the moment. I paid $2,250 for it and I've already had to do about $2,000 worth of repairs. I know my brother has spent masses of money on his car (same make and model, different year) so depending on what the mechanic says today (it's been running rough over the weekend) I'll see if it is worth the effort of keeping it or getting another one.

The annoying thing is that all the mechanics I've taken it to all say "oh, it's in great condition, nothing wrong with it". And then a week later something else needs fixing.

Having said that, if I do go looking for yet another car, I'll be making a list and sticking to it this time:
  • It must be a manual, preferably five speed.
  • Ute is preferred, but sedan is cheaper and more useful.
  • It must be old, so that I can do maintenance myself.
  • It needs to have a towball on the back.
And I'll be writing that down and damned sticking to it this time!

In other news, Hasoly has completed her required hours and now needs to go do the Hazards Perception Test and she'll have her license and be able to drive on her own.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Well, it was supposed to be a long weekend.

Instead our beloved area manager decided that we would open for work on Monday anyway, despite the fact that we never open for public holidays and had signs up saying that we would be closed for the last two weeks.

Looks like its going to be a boring day, sitting around kicking our heels. On the plus side, extra money. On the down side, waste of a day.

Like I said, blargh...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

House picked out

Well, looks like we have a place picked out. An offer has been made and accepted, the bank is talking to the settlement agent and hopefully we'll be good to go in a relatively short amount of time. How long that is depends on several things, most of which I'm probably not aware of.

Life in general is doing pretty good. Most of the stuff I bought on eBay arrived without major drama so it's all good on that front. I have two packages still in transit - one from the US and one from Europe which should both hopefully arrive before we move.

The car is still losing coolant, which is a pain but is still manageable. I still want a motorbike but it does not look like that will be happening any time soon. No major disasters this week, so everything appears to be coasting along nicely.

Memo to self: get the photos up...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

House Huntin'

So, today is a day to get into massive debt.

We'll be going out to look at a bunch of houses and hopefully point at one and shout "I'll take it!". Pre-approval is awesome. Just gotta stick with the re-payments.

One could say "we are going to buy a house". Likewise, one could also say "we are going to get into half a million dollars worth of debt".

Doesn't sound as good when put that way... :o(

Monday, April 13, 2009

On hold

Okay, so I have a number of projects that are sitting around, not going anywhere. These are:
  • Way of the Lone Road - this is a communal story forum that I started a few years ago. The people who were involved with that one have mainly moved on. Status: Currently, I am using it as general forum for my various projects.
  • TwaiP - this was my first webcomic. For a first, I think it went pretty well. It has a start, a middle and an end. Status: Finished.
  • The Craze Factor This was a "stolen" webcomic. Basically, someone else wanted their account deleted. I asked them to send me the login details which they did and I deleted their old content, like they wanted. Then I moved in my own junk and squatted on the account. Status: Being used as a testing area. Can be deleted at any time.
  • ictoanftc - I couldn't think of a name for this comic is on indefinite hiatus. The story wasn't going anywhere and I ran out of motivation.
  • escobar.id.au - my main site, no updates in a long time. This one I really need to get to work on. Status: Limping along
  • Loneverse - this is my "big" creative site. However, it too has not updated in a long time. I have the urge to overhaul it and start again, but that does not feel right. I may just leave it as is, get another domain and start a new story site with a different theme. Status: Unofficially on hiatus
  • LTPD - this is the latest webcomic. It's a photocomic that uses Lego people (hence the recent splurging on Lego). Turns out that sticking word bubbles on photos is not as satisfying as drawing comics. Status: Aborted?
I'm pretty sure that I have another project or three that I am not listing. I have a lot of started/aborted projects.

So in order to focus, I think I will cut down on the number of projects that I have running. Since I will be running a private server at home, I think that what I will do is to set up a private wiki and see if I can maintain a series of updates on the local one and then see about getting a new domain. Loneverse I'll put on tentative hold, though I intend to keep writing that one and I'll need to get into gear and get some more updates on my main site.

Everything else is getting dropped.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

And then thought the better of it

Okay, so after two hours of mucking round, here are the final results:

The total of all the parts that are available new comes out to AUS$115 + $30 postage. The remaining parts are available from four separate dealers, all in Europe. The total for the extra parts is only $37, but postage from four separate sellers adds $80.

That's $262.

Or, I can pay $68 and get an incomplete second hand 5580 and make up the missing pieces from my collection. This works out much better for two reasons: first, it is cheaper and second, Lego ages pretty well. I have Lego that's almost as old as I am and it is still in pretty good condition.

So I guess that's that. An interesting experiment, but at least I didn't spend any money. I might still get 5580 at some future time, but I'll put this idea on the backburner for a while.

And since we might be moving soon, it's probably a good idea not to buy stuff internationally which might get delayed in transit.

So I've decided to be stupid...

As I was discussing in my previous post, it is quite possible (though sometimes more expensive) to re-build an old, discontinued set by buying new individual parts directly from Lego.

Since the 8880 Supercar has so many specific parts and would be quite expensive, I've decided to give it a go but with a different model: the 5580 Super Rig.

The reason for choosing this set is that a)the set is from 1986, when sets where very much built from basic bricks, b)it's a cool set and c)I want it.

Not very good reasons for dropping a bunch of cash on little plastic toys...

Anyway, it's not recorded anywhere that I can find how much it originally cost, but looking at comparable models from that range and time, I'd guess that it was somewhere around $60 to $100 USD. Assuming that it was $95, adjusting for inflation and converting to AUS, it would probably have been in the region of AUS$160.

Currently, there are around 30 copies of this set available from BrickLink, ranging from USD$50 for one missing bricks with no instructions or box to sets around USD$500 still in original box. There is even one going for over USD$2,000 since it is sealed in mint condition.

Obviously I don't want to spend anywhere near that much. For around USD$90 (plus postage) I can get a complete set including instructions. That's probably the smart way to get it, but that's not how I roll.

So I'll see how many of the bricks I can get new from Lego, then pick up the rest second hand. And see how much I end up spending on this stupid project...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Insane, but quiet.

Okay, I was looking through some of my old stuff when I found some old Lego catalogues (I seem to be thinking a lot about Lego at the moment). In it, I saw one of the old Technic sets, specifically set 8880, which was "the" must-have supercar in the mid 90's.

This particular set is actually available from a few places (only second hand) and I got to thinking, would it be possible to build this set out of new parts?

I trundled over to Shop@Home (Lego's on-line shop) where they have a "buy the bits you want" service. Now, they don't keep the full range of bits for people to buy, but they do have a very wide selection of bricks. About 80% of the parts I would need are available.

Now, it's that last 20% that is the kicker. This set uses many pieces that are not in production any more and two specific pieces that were exclusive to this set.

Doing the maths, new bricks from S@H come out to about AUS$160. The other 20% would need to be bought second-hand and total (approx) another $50-70. And the two exclusive bits are still available, but they would be about $20 for just those two.

So the running tally would be AUS$240 plus postage, which would be around another $80 since all the extra bits would be coming from different sources, mainly in Europe.

AUS$320 for an 80% new car.

Or AUS$200 for a second hand one with no box or instructions.

Gee, which would I do? Let me think about this one for two seconds. . .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Quiet, but sane.

Not much has been going down in my corner of the world. We're pretty lucky in that we haven't been hit too hard with the current financial troubles and no major problems have come up.

Still playing with the new camera, need to put up a couple of photos that I've taken. Some are okay, most are rubbish. Hopefully I'll be getting better - I just need to get out there and take more photo's.

I'm sort of over the "buy lots of Lego" phase. The main reason I was trying to buy more was for my not-going-anywhere Lego-webcomic idea. Since I have not bothered making any updates with it using what I already have then I figure that I', probably not going to do many updates even if I had a huge amount of Lego.

I'm also kind of over the "lets buy a motorbike" idea. Most everyone I've spoken to has gone out of their way to tell me stories about people getting mangled riding on motorbikes (and shown me videos). Plus the initial set-up costs are greater than the savings over several years worth of riding rather than driving.

So I'm kind of in limbo at the moment. I don't have any big plans to aim for, I don't have any projects in the pipeline and I'm not doing anything creative.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

eBay - it's damned addictive!

Well, I need to develop more self control.

So far I've order some dog tags (no idea why, don't have a dog), some books, some stuff or the camera and Lego. Lots of Lego (luckily I've been out-bid on some of the bigger bulk lots - so there are people out there that want Lego more than I do!).

I have a feeling that I need to keep a pretty close eye on how long I spend looking at eBay. It would be so easy to buy junk that I don't need or want. Earlier today I was looking at buying 100 sheets of gold leaf just because it was cheap - nevermind that I have absolutely no use for gold leaf, let alone 100 sheets of it!

However, I do need a new battery for the camera... and a memory card...

Oh dear, it is a slippery slope.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Still thinking about the motorcycle

I am undecided.

One day, I'm all "oh noes, that would be terrible - not to mention dangerous!" and the next day I'm "hell yeah, this is an awesome idea!"

I'm looking at prices and it looks like it'd be a minimum outlay of around $4,000 for a banger - $3,000 for a bike (assuming I find a cheap one) and $1,000 for safety gear (helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, pants).

I can understand the safety gear being a bit dearish since you need it new, but what I find annoying is that everyone I speak to says "small engine bikes don't sell well, you won't get your money back on them" but all the under 250cc bikes I look at are about the same price as new. Which is kinda retarded. Even old bangers from the 80's are several thousand.

Unlike cars where it is easy to find a rolling bomb for under $500 which just needs a little tlc to keep it moving. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places. I wonder if it is worth the effort of finding a good wreckers and buy all the bits for the bike and then put it together myself?

Now that is a really bad idea...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April 1st

Didn't see too many April Fools Day jokes, but the assistant manager at work managed to get a few people with a good one.

He sent around a message saying "the store was ram raided" and followed it with a photo of the incident. He'd gotten to work early and taken a photo of one of our remote control cars up against the front door.

It was funnier than it sounds.