The Kia is dead. Long live the Kia.

Hmm, Tempting

A person's car is a unique object in the history of humanity.  It's terribly expensive but it only serves one purpose; to get us places faster and at a farther distance than our feet could travel.  The nicer and newer the car, the higher in social status we are perceived.  The type of car you have gives a brief (and perhaps incorrect) glimpse into the type of person you are.  Not only are cars expensive to initially purchase, but they could require financing and subsequent upkeep.  For the average person, it's next to only a house in cost and maintenance and equally ranked in terms of headaches and hassles.

Cars are meant to break, they are designed to last a certain time.  Cars are complex machines that are becoming more so as we discover new gadgets to cram inside.  In the span of a century, an automobile went from a hand-cranked engine barely able to haul two people around to massively powerful engines with computer brains smart enough to handle multiple driver settings, driving conditions and even satellite communication and self diagnostics.  The cars today are smarter than their drivers.

At least smarter than I am.  I didn't change my timing belt when I should have and it cost me.  It broke while I was driving with Tiger Lily.  The engine shut off and wouldn't start.  For those that don't know, when your timing belt breaks, if you are driving, the pistons and cylinder heads tend to smash into each other like they're trying to find the Higgs Boson.  So now my Kia is basically a collection of wires and metal framing around some chairs. I'm selling it for parts.

It's not entirely a horrible situation.  The car needed a lot of work, most of which I couldn't afford anyway.  At last check it needed new gaskets, shocks, brakes, HVAC blower motor, belts apparently, a quarter panel window and CV joints.  The cost to repair this new problem was more than the car was worth, not to mention the rest.  I'm able to carpool with Tiger Lily thankfully and ride my bike.  This will give me an opportunity to take this money I get for selling it, save monthly on car insurance and start saving for a new car in about a year and a half, if not longer.  Considering I can't save much per check, it's a good thing that happened.

Plus, it happened on a weekend near a parking lot.  If we hadn't taken my car then, I would have taken it to work on Monday and died in the middle of the highway.  So I guess fortune smiles on even the stupid and mechanically disinclined.

So in 18-24 months I should be getting a new car, maybe a Kia Soul.  Green.

Carry on.


We're All Fine Here, Now, Thank You.

Well, the big news of the year, Ms. A and I are officially divorced.  The comes as a surprise to no one as most people who follow us on Facebook and Twitter or phone calls or texts or in person knew this.  Which is why it won't get much mention here.  I will say there are things I need to do as a newly minted but vintage single person.  I had to change my health benefits, will have to change my IRS filing, get new car insurance, etc.  The biggest thing on the horizon now is either fix or replace my car.  I have 2001 Kia Sportage and while it's not in great shape it runs pretty well.  And by pretty well I mean it starts, takes me to work and doesn't explode.  It needs a lot of work but I've had it for 10 years now and as someone mentioned to me it's probably not worth sinking a lot of money into it if the better condition resale is less than the amount I use to fix it over the poorly condition resale.

That said, Ms. A has been working tirelessly to fix both of our credit from the problems we've had with the house on Rodeo and a couple cars.  Losing jobs is never a good thing and the years between 2004 and 2007 were not great on our credit.  Hopefully we've made some progress and I can actively look into buying a new car; maybe a Kia Sol, I've been eyeing those for a while.

The problem is, most of my paycheck goes toward child support.  I have enough set aside for me for what I need but it was taking into account a paid off car.  If I get a new one I don't know that I can afford it.  I don't know a dealership will sell me one if they know how much I actually take home.  Hopefully I can qualify for a nice reasonable monthly payment and we'll just go from there.

But this isn't why I wanted to write today.  I'm a Star Wars nerd after all and today is the release date for the prequel trilogy on Blu-Ray.  I got to thinking after I got the DVD Empire email (way to stay relevant guys) and read the tagline "Own Every Moment."

My problem with the constant tweaks and changes to the Star Wars movies is not so much a financial one but an artistic one.  If it was merely a media update (Laserdisc?) I'd understand, but each new update contains new scenes, changes to lines, additional bits that may not have made it originally.  I'm not talking about an extended edition like Lord of the Rings, but severe changes that shape the way the movie is perceived.

Imagine you bought Stephen King's "The Stand."  Years later the industry changes and you can listen to an audio version on tape, but King has gone in and changed some parts.  It's still roughly the same story but let's say that instead of the superflu accidentally getting out, it's was allowed to get out.  Instead of the Army developing the virus, it's a virus they found on an asteroid.  Okay, no big deal.  Buy the tapes.  A few years later the industry changes again, you can download it on your computer.  King rewrites it again and insinuates that Mother Abigail isn't a spirit of good, but a robot sent back in time by the survivors' descendants to ensure that Flagg is stopped.  Pretty neat twist, makes you think about the story differently but it's still the same plot.  Buy it again.  Now it's 2007 and Amazon releases the Kindle, makes it easier to buy, store and read books.  It's a huge sensation and King releases "The Stand" again, but this time he adds a character, The Moon Man.  Tom Cullen thinks everything is spelled M-O-O-N because he's in fact a servant of an even more evil character that's been controlling Flagg the whole time.  Tom has escaped but at the cost of his mental faculties.  His constantly spelling "moon" is the only thing that remains and is a clue the others need.  Randall Flagg isn't the big bad guy any more, Abigail's a robot and the superflu is an alien lifeform, not a bioengineered military project.

Do you still by the book?  Does it matter to you now that it's delivered in a technology some would argue is superior than the original?

I know the prequels haven't changed since they were released and my "The Stand" analogy isn't perfect, but the idea remains the same that after all these years, the technology is changing the story.  What limited the story in the first place and espoused by its creator as just a vehicle to tell the story is now changing the story with each new iteration or media type.

I won't be buying the Blu-Ray.  I will be dusting off my VCR and watching the original (but not quite the original) VHS tapes until TVs no longer accept RCA cables.