To buy or to fix, that is the question

So I’ve run through my car options a thousand times. I’m not quite sure what the best option is. I know which one I want, but what I want isn’t always the best thing. …….

Options:

  1. buy a car and get rid of the Trans Am
  2. buy a car, and keep the Trans Am
  3. fix the Trans Am and live with it a bit longer.

I really wouldn’t mind doing option 3. But since the car is 12 years old with 139,000 miles, I’m not sure if it’s going down the path of fix one thing, then another breaks. I’ve inquired to see how much it would cost to rebuild the engine, I got an estimated $5,300. Removing and replacing engine is $1,500 of the $5,300. But it would be nice to get the car close to original condition. There really is so much potential for the car and plenty of aftermarket parts. I suspect option 3 is the money pit option.

Out of the other two options, I prefer option 2 where I could buy a car and keep the Trans Am. The rub comes with the fact that I can’t really afford a new car right now, which means I’d have to settle for a used car. So here are the cars I wouldn’t mind owning, though some more so than others.

  • 2004-2006 Ford Crown Victoria LX
    • pros
      • V-8 w/ 239 hp
      • seating capacity of 6
      • with the look of a police cruiser, I’ll have people getting out of my way
      • not very popular so prices are low
      • rear-wheel drive
    • cons
      • automatic only
      • old person stigma
  • 2005-2006 Pontiac GTO
    • pros
      • 400-hp V-8 LS1 engine
      • 6-speed manual
      • independent rear suspension
      • fast and fun
      • plenty of performance parts
      • rear-wheel drive
    • cons
      • seating capacity of 4
      • no trunk space
  • 2005-2006 Mazda Mazda3
    • pros
      • fuel efficient
      • 5-speed manual
      • fun to drive
    • cons
      • 4-cylinder engine
      • front-wheel drive
  • 2005-2006 Mazda Mazda6
    • pros
      • 215-hp V-6 engine
      • Mazdaspeed6 version has turbo I-4 producing 274-hp and has all-wheel drive
      • 5-speed manual (6-speed on Mazdaspeed6 version)
      • seating for 5
    • cons
      • front-wheel drive
      • in order to get the power I have in the Trans Am I need to get the Mazdaspeed6 version
  • 2005-2006 Chevrolet Impala SS
    • pros
      • cop car look so I get the same benefit I get with the Crown Vic of folks getting out of my way
      • 5.3L V-8 with 303-hp
      • seating capacity for 6
    • cons
      • front-wheel drive with a V-8 probably has a lot of torque steer
      • automatic only
      • not a very hip car

Unfortunately, I think getting the GTO will be out of the question especially if I want to keep the Trans Am. In which case I think I like the two cop cars the best. They don’t have manual transmissions available, but they can seat the entire family and they have V-8 power. But the reason I’m so torn is that the Mazda’s are actually fun to drive and have much better fuel economy.

After writing this entry, I’m not sure I’m willing to do option 1. Trading the Trans Am in wouldn’t garner me much money. So I guess I’ve really only got 2 options 🙂

Until next time.

Trip to Maryland

This weekend we went to Maryland to visit some family and so that Liz could attend Mirsa’s (her cousin) baby shower. Aside from the traffic, we had a good time.

We left for Maryland on Saturday morning around 10am, and decided to take I-95 all the way up instead of taking US 301. That’s when we hit traffic at exit 152 until 162. It took us 45 minutes to get 10 miles. On the way back on Monday, we took the same route, and hit a backup at exit 104. There was a overturned SUV and a shredded camper trailer that the SUV apparently had in tow. It took us about an hour to go 4 miles. 😦 And had I had my Atlas in the car or a GPS system I would’ve noticed that getting off at 207 would’ve saved us that hour.

I-95 is notorious for having bad traffic around the DC area, so most sane people avoid it unlike us 🙂 But I think it’s really a sign of how horrible our Interstate Highway System has become. When Eisenhower had the system built, he wanted to move equipment and supplies across the country in a quick and efficient manner. The capacity has since outgrown what the Interstate Highway System can take. Imagine a disaster hitting the I-95 corridor. There is no way you could take the highway to get out of town fast enough. It would be come shear gridlock. Even now, a accident closes the highway down for hours. There should be a way to re-route traffic onto side streets to avoid this gridlock. Maybe what we need is a parallel I-95 or maybe better alerting and detour signs to re-route traffic. Hell even opening up the shoulder that isn’t being used to allow more traffic to flow. But instead of fixing our ailing infrastructure, we spend our time and money bombing other countries. SIGH!

On a much lighter note, my father has a wonderful vegetable garden in his backyard which is being attacked by a groundhog. He purchased a trap and so far caught an opposum and this weekend he caught another one, so we thought. When he picked up the trap to move it the animal inside moved around and I saw the white stripe. I immediately told him it was a skunk. So my mother and I went inside while my dad moved the trap and opened it up to release it. Luckily my dad didn’t get sprayed, but the skunk did spray somewhere because the whole yard was in a funk! 🙂 So to combat the smell my dad decided to burn some wood in his old grill. Unfortunately, he had the grill sitting directly on top of 2 wooden planks which, you guested it, started to burn. Then the grill toppled and fell on to the ground. We all thought it was hilarious because no one was in harms way. But the smoke did help cover up the skunk smell.

Also this weekend, the boys, me, and my dad, went to Allen Pond Park in Bowie. We fed the ducks and geese, walked around the pond, the boys played in the playground, and later had ice cream. It was a great time. I’ll post pictures tonight.

Aside from the travel, the trip a good time was had by all.

Automobile saga

The Trans Am is having more issues, expected since the car is 12 years old and has 139,000 miles on it.  I believe one of the fans (it has dual fans) is failing to kick on which causes the car to almost overheat when stopped, the A/C is busted again, probably due to the fans not working properly, the driver’s side door panel is off because the window came unhinged from the guide rails, front passenger fender has a crack in it, the leather seats are getting split because of worn and dry leather, and finally (at least from what I can tell) the car has a very rough idle.  I suspect it’s time for a new Optispark distributor.

NEW software development models

I found this little bit of satire about software development models today, it is quite funny (at least for those in the software industry). My two favorite from the post are:

Development By Denial (DBD) – Everybody pretends there is a method for what’s being done, and that things are going ok, when in reality, things are a mess and the process is on the floor. The worse things get, the more people depend on their denial of what’s really happening, or their isolation in their own small part of the project, to survive.

and

Asshole Driven development (ADD) – Any team where the biggest jerk makes all the big decisions is asshole driven development. All wisdom, logic or process goes out the window when Mr. Asshole is in the room, doing whatever idiotic, selfish thing he thinks is best. There may rules and processes, but Mr. A breaks them and people follow anyway.

Yahoo! pipes

I really like the Flickr widget on WordPress, and as a Smugmug user I wanted to use that feed in there as well. This weekend I started playing with Yahoo! pipes and merged my Flickr feed with my Smugmug feed. But when I tried to use that feed with the Flickr widget, I either got just the title of the images or the “More Photos” link. I opened a forum topic to see if I can find out what the widget is lookig for in the feed.