Thursday, February 26, 2009

So...



Maintaining a high performance car is expensive. Brake pads, rotors, etc are all at least 30% more expensive. And, when a car gets over 100k miles, maintenance skyrockets. You haveto think about those one time repairs and maintenance items that crop up. I've got 97k on the odo for the WRX right now. At 105k, I've got my timing belt I need to do($400-800 depending on what pulleys/tensioners need to be replaced). Within the next 10k miles I will probably haveto do my clutch ($700-900). New tires in the next 15k ($600-800) and brakes ($400 just for the fronts) Within 40k my tranny will go. It could go tomorrow, it could go at 140k. I don't know. That will be something around 3k for some new gears installed, and hopefully strengthened a little bit. That's something like 5000-5900 worth of repairs in the next year or so, not counting unplanned breakages, oil changes, and the like.



Is it worth it ? Yes. Driving a 6 year old car that is paid off and repairing it is wayyyy cheaper than paying payments of $250 a month on a car. Those payments come to about 3000 a year or so, but that also doesn't factor in the idea that you owe money on the car, it also requires maintenance (30k and 60k maint is around 800 bucks, brakes, etc) and you're pouring 30% of every payment away in interest.



If you drive a car into the ground and throw it away once the repairs exceed the value of the car, you will save an average of 20k per car (between insurance, depreciation, interest payments, compounded over five years). The way around this is to get a somewhat used car and pay cash, and start putting away $250 a month towards your next car- theoretically the money you are saving by not having a car payment. Once your current car is run into the ground, probably somewhere at 175k miles or more, you'll have enough to buy a new car cash. Maintenance costs drop dramatically, and you have absolutely no payments and no loss on interest. If you financed a $30,000 car, you'd end up paying something like $45,000 for that car over the five years you pay it off. You just saved yourself fifteen grand, if you assume you buy a new car every five years with the cash you saved. If you keep the car even longer, the savings keeps adding up. So you keep paying yourself $250 a month for that theoretical car payment over the life of your brand new car. When it reaches 175k and you've run it into the ground, you now have something like $39,000 in cash for your next car (assuming your brand new car lasts you around 13 years, which is really easy and conservative). Repeat, and save... over your lifetime, you will have saved over $200,000 on cars, interest, insurance, maintenance, and depreciation.

So is it worth it for me to be spending 6k to keep my car maintained for the next few years? Absolutely. That doesn't even factor in the fact that it's a high performance car that I will be using for the track. You gotta pay to play baby.

Moral of the story: Buy cash only, avoid making rich CEOs of banks richer by loaning money and paying interest, and don't be so high maintenance about needing a "new" car. You'll save hundreds of thousands. No joke.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Track day.

So, my dad, my uncle and I all signed up for a drivers education/skills day at bremerton raceway. It's basically a one day autocross/training course, where they train you how to drive safely in a high performance vehicle. The first half of the day is classroom training and car control exercises- they wet down the pavement and have an instructor sit with you in the car and walk you through how to get out of an uncontrolled slide, how to emergency brake, how to run a slalom, and so on. The second half of the day is tuning your skills with an autocross course.

So I've been wanting to track my car like this for a long while- ever since I bought it, really. I've even tastefully modded it for light track duty. Stage 2 brake kit, mild power modifications, suspension upgrades, and so on, for a balanced car. Not a car with 300 horsepower on stock suspension and brakes, not an underpowered highly manueverable honda.

The problem is, it's been so long since I prepped the car for this kind of duty, that it needs some TLC before it'll be ready to go. It's been 40k miles since I put my stage 2 brake kit on, so it's extremely close to needing new high performance brake pads and rotors. It needs another oil change here soon, and I had a nail in my right rear tire. Well, I got the nail fixed this morning, I've inspected the brakes several times, and I just don't know if I need to replace them before the track day. The alfa club is pretty firm about wanting the cars to have lots of pad life before a track day, and are serious about making the event safe for everyone. Dad and I already went out and bought a helmet for the event, even- a cheapie 100 dollar M2005 snell helmet, but it looks cool. painted in a neat silver design. That'll work for the occasional track day.

So I'm kind of torn on what I need to do now. The track day is less than two weeks away, and if I need to do my brakes before the track day, I need to order the parts right now. I decided to take the car to my mechanic on thursday for the oil change and for him to inspect the brakes and advise me on what needs to be done, but I still fear for my ability to get the parts in time to get it done before saturday 6am. Even then I'd haveto bed in the new brakes on the way to the track, heh.

But, I am very excited to finally be using the car for what it was designed for. It's an extremely capable machine, and I am looking forward to spinning it out and drifting around cones in it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things:

www.failblog.org


www.fark.com


www.icanhascheezburger.com


www.penny-arcade.com

When I am bored or need to take a break, I will visit one of these sites for a few minutes of entertainment. Failblog is just plain funny, sometimes crude. Fark is hilarious headlines about stupid people around the world. Icanhascheezburger is funny captioned cat pictures, and penny-arcade is a couple of sarcastic seattlelite gamers that draw pictures and make fun of the gaming industry while wholly submitting to the fact that it runs their lives.

Outside the "e" world, my favorite things are cars, tinkering with things, music(playing mostly, lately, but a zunepass exponentially increases my interest in listening as well), reading, and my family.

What are a few of your favorite things?

People I expect to respond:

Rosemary
Kathleen
Hodge (Yes, I know you read this :) )
Amy

And anyone else that reads this that I am unaware of. Maybe I'll post it on facebook to see if anyone else has any interesting favorite things.

Monday, February 02, 2009

I'm preaching tonight. I'm going to write my sermon down here, partly to practice and cement it, partly to share it with a wider audience.

During the weekend, the Refuel youth/young adults conference, the pastor that was preaching Joel Scrivner talked a lot about being blameless. One of the sermons was about spiritual cleanliness- how things that happen to you apart from your own sin can make you unclean. Part of this is offense. He talked about issues he'd encountered that had made him unclean, and how he needed to forgive these offenses, repeatedly.

I want to really focus in on his offense message, and dive deeper into offense. When you take a look at the word "Offense" or "Offend" you'll find that it has over 40 synonyms. Forty different ways that we have, in the english language, ways of saying we are offended. The transverse is an antonym- an opposite. There are only two antonyms to offense. Another great way to look at it is, there are forty ways to say I am offended, but only one word for "Love" in the english language.

First, I'm going to talk about communication. Take a look at Matthew 17:27 and you'll see a portion of a story about Jesus performing another miracle, to pull money out of a fish's mouth. You'll see here that Jesus specifically went out of his way to avoid offending someone- he even had to get miraculous on a situation to avoid offending. This is the example we really need to follow. The order in which you put your words can have very, very different meanings than what you intend. For example, you can say, I like girls. This can be interpreted many, many different ways. I like girls, I like girls, or I like girls. See the difference there? A little tone here or body language there and your words change dramatically. One paints you as a pedophile, one is an emphatic (possibly lustful) statement, and another is just a weird thing to say. :) They all say the same thing though, right? We haveto be especially careful of this in our generation, because one of our trademarks- one of the things that defines our generation is our sarcasm. This adds a whole new layer of complexity to what you are saying and how it might be interpreted. Sarcasm is rife within our society and generation- When my wife was pregnant, I used to call her tubbs all the time. Now, she knew this was in jest and would laugh and enjoy having fun, and people love to always clown on eachother about old age whenever possible. We just need to be aware that sometimes what we say can have very, very different meanings.

On the other side of the coin, is when we listen. Take a look at Matthew 13:54-57 and you'll see when Jesus was preaching in his hometown. At first, everyone was amazed at what Jesus had said. His words were without fault. And as you continue reading this passage, we see an about-face, and the people start looking for offense. When the words were not offensive, they looked deeper- into Jesus' family, to find a reason to be offended at his words. People in our society are specifically looking to be offended. Searching your every word for offense. You can see here that being offended is a decision. They heard the word, sat back, and thought about it long enough to find an offense. When we listen to people, we need to think of them and their words in the best possible way. Assume the best about them, and what they are trying to say. We need to realize the *vast* majority of the time, people are not trying to offend you. Be slow to draw negative conclusions about whatever is being spoken. That person that is speaking is worthy of your grace, just as Jesus gives us grace. Do not dig into their words un-necessarily. We do this fairly frequently trying to find fault in their words, and it's unintentional. Stop yourself from doing that. Don't dwell on people's words negatively.

If after considering the best possible interpretation, you truly do find something worthy of taking issue with, you've got to do two things. First, pray. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you can pray. Take a few minutes to cool off if you need to. The second thing you need to do, is approach that person. Reciprocate. As pastor Clint and Amaryllis talked about in the communication break out, repeat back to that person what they said and ask if it is what they meant. If it is, tell them how it made you feel. The rest of this process is easy- if someone really sees that they offended you or said something offensive, people will work very very hard at making it up to you. People hate offending eachother un-intentionally.

Now, if you do this, and someone truly is trying to offend you, this is terribly easy to fix. The attack you see is the easiest to dodge. If someone is truly trying to offend you, you can easily brush it off as something that is untrue or mean spirited. Don't let it get to you. If someone is trying to offend you, pick better friends!

Let's talk about when and where we need to be diligent about this. First, I use these tactics a lot at work. Political hostilities can truly do damage to your career, or your pay. How many of you have had communications issues in e-mails? E-mails pose a special problem, because a very large portion of communication- nonverbal communication, get's left out. I tend to re-read my e-mails before I send them, acting like I recieved them, and see how it makes me feel. This is also a really good strategy for if you are trying to influence people positively- make them feel warm and accepted, acknowledged and appreciated. You've got the benefit of time, you can re-read that e-mail as many times as you want, where as it's harder to think about what you are saying during a conversation.

The next area you can use these tactics in is your marriage, or other close relationships. This is where it truly matters the most. Where there are hearts and souls at stake. What you say can truly injure someone for life. Remember what Jesus taught us, love one another as we love ourselves. This is critical in how we become Christ-like! Jesus constantly showed us how to be kind, patient, loving. How to be un offendable is an important piece of the puzzle to staying clean and being Christ-like.

Lastly, the church- this is the absolute easiest place for us to deal with offense. I can almost gaurantee you that people are trying to be uplifting and talk to you out of love. The entire reason we are at church is to learn about Christ and how to be more christ-like. When was the last time you saw someone intentionally trying to do harm to the body? Probably never. When people are communicating at church, you haveto think and understand that people are trying to build eachother up, have fun, and be friends. No one intentionally says something stupid or does something that hurts someone else here. Unfortunately, this is also where some of the most devastating, divisive offenses in human history have happened. Are we not all here for the same reason? Because God called us? This is also a reminder to us, that if and when you might disagree with someone, you don't haveto take offense. in fact, doesn't it seem silly to take offense at something just because someone believes differently? Especially over issues that have many opinions, as the church has found out painfully. Jesus specifically points out that to bicker over trivial theology is to really lose sight of the cross.

In closing- it's incredibly easy for us to take offense, as humans. Naturally we all think pretty highly of ourselves, and anything that might hint at the contrary can be painful. We are constantly searching words and messages and meanings to find anything that might be at odds with our idea of ourselves. Take some time ot think about some offenses you've experienced lately, and humble yourself. Decide not to be offended. We are here to serve eachother. Paul got it right, when he said love keeps no record of wrongs.