Monday, March 31, 2003

Niels went back to Denmark today. We'll miss him. Now we're housemate-hunting again. Anybody need a place to live? Daniel hasn't had many responses to his ads.

I tried playing a Bach fugue on the mandolin today. That was hard. The Modern Mandolin Quartet CD I've been listening to has a fugue from the G minor violin sonata done on solo mandolin and it sounds absolutely amazing. It's as if there are two or three people playing. I was impressed the first time I heard it, but now that I've tried it I'm really impressed. My fingers are hurting now, but they've just been out of shape in general anyway. I'll give it another shot tomorrow.

I've also been watching a series of videos I found at the library, called The Story of the Symphony. Each one has Andr� Previn talking about a different composer and conducting a symphony with the Royal Philharmonic. They're pretty history-oriented, without much theory, which is too bad, but it's still pretty interesting and I'm learning a bit. I really miss taking music classes, though. Maybe someday I'll take some Continuing Studies class at Stanford or something. These videos also make me wish I had learned to play some orchestral instrument when I was little -- I would know so much more about a lot more music by now if I had. Oh well. It was fun growing up as a folkie, too.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

I have tickets to Portland to visit my sister! Yay! I'll be there April 11 - 14.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Fun contra dancing tonight. Becky was looking for some Spring Break dancing so she came along, and there were also a few other studenty type people there. Or at least people in that age group, if not all from Stanford. I always say we need more of that there (not that I don't like everybody else, too, of course). The dances were good -- Eric always seems to come up with something interesting and unusual -- and Sidesaddle played excellent music, though they were sadly minus a mandolin player. I think there were a lot of dances with a lot of alemands, though, and my forearms are a little sore now. And one random muscle in my back, too, but I don't know what that's from. But it's not too bad. Oh, and I found my shirt that I left there last time. Yay!

In other news, I will hopefully get to go up to Portland for a weekend to see Lacey again soon. That would be fun. I'm going to look for plane tickets tomorrow.

Friday, March 28, 2003

It was a year ago today that I moved into my room here. It's been kind of nice to stay in one place for a while after 5 years of scooting back and forth between Santa Cruz and various dorm rooms. And I like it here. I think I have a very nice and comfortable room, and it definitely feels like home. The house still needs a name, though. I was thinking that something from Joyce might be good. The only idea I got out of Ulysses was Omphalos, which I kind of like. But I'm still thinking about it.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Alright, current library situation:: someone "higher up" has to approve the job and wants to hear from the library director that it's okay, and the director is on vacation until Tuesday. Alice said that the director already told her it was okay, but they don't believe her, apparently. But it does mean that we're fairly confident it will all work out. The director just has to come back and say so. The bad news, though, is that I have to work as a temp instead of a contractor so I'll get paid a little less. But I've already decided I want to make it work, so it will all be okay.

It's a beautiful, sunny day today so I ate my lunch at our picnic table out back. We also have a hammock set up there, now. It's very nice.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Well, this may not be so good. I just got back from the library and Alice said that she still hasn't been able to get a hold of the guy who was supposed to tell us how I could get paid for working for them. Not only that, but it turns out that the person who allocated the money in the first place and said they could hire someone did not necessarily know what she was doing. So things are a little more up in the air right now. Alice said she might be able to let me know tomorrow, but maybe not until Monday, when the director gets back from somewhere. That's a bit frustrating. I don't mind taking a couple more days off, but I'd like to know as soon as I can whether or not I'll have a job there, so I can start looking for another temp job if I need to. I think that, if we don't get an answer tomorrow, I'll call my temp agencies and see if I can get something just for next week, so I can be doing something while it all gets figured out. I'm still hoping, though.
Having a day off has been nice. Not really that different from a weekend, I guess, but maybe I just notice it more when it's a Wednesday. I played a lot of piano this morning. Finally. I've hardly played at all for the last two weeks or so, which is sad. I read through a few relatively-easy looking Chopin mazurkas that I've been listening to a lot recently. Neat pieces. I think that, overall, I like them better than the waltzes. I should look through all my sheet music again to find more stuff to use for reading practice. Actually, what I really should do is start taking lessons again sometime. I'll get around to that eventually.

The other rather obvious thing I've been doing today is reading. I finished Ulysses a few days ago. That was quite a trip, but it was fun in a strange sort of way. I need a Joyce-break for a while before I tackle Finnegan's Wake, though. That stuff is hard on the brain. So I'm reading Moby Dick, which is quite a change of pace. For one thing, I'm going from one enormous book all about a single day, to a three-year whaling voyage. I feel like my brain is stretching out after being crowded into a little corner for a long time. Anyway, I've never read Moby Dick before, but I'd thought of it when we went whale watching a couple weeks ago. And I thought it would be nice to have a good adventure story after following the streams of consciousness of people going to pubs and funerals and whatnot. So that's been pretty fun so far.

Hmm. I guess a life of piano and books doesn't make for the most exciting blog postings. Sorry. I also got inspired to do some much-needed spring cleaning today, but that's hardly any better. Oh well. Tonight I'm going to the library, so I should find out exactly what's up with the job there. That's all the excitement from here for now.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Last day here. Bye bye, Google. I got an e'mail from my supervisor saying she can't believe I'm leaving already, and adding "we were just getting used to you!" Hmm... I wonder how I ought to take that :-) Well, I know it was well meant, but it just sounded kind of funny. She said they would have kept me indefinitely (so why didn't they tell me that when I asked about the ending date?) but I think it's a good time for me to move on. It's been a good job here for the last two months. Well, the job itself has been somewhat less fun than a barrel of monkeys, but it was fairly easy, with a lot of down-time (translation: lots of reading time), plus they fed me really well. And the steady paycheck was certainly nice to have, too. But the library job should be good in different ways. And speaking of that, I called Project Read last night but found that Alice had been out for a few days, and no one else knew exactly what was up. So I'm just going to take tomorrow off and go over in the evening (at my usual volunteering time) and see if we can't get things figured out then.

I wonder if the next person to inherit my computer will be amused or confused that I left my Google homepage in Swedish Chef Muppet language mode? (Bork, bork, bork! :-)

Monday, March 24, 2003

Niels is learning to play Go, so I played a small (9x9) game with him tonight. About a year and a half ago I was trying to learn Go for a while, but it seems I have forgotten what little I knew then so we were both kind of flailing around a bit. Fun, though.
They moved my workstation again today. This is getting annoying. But I'm not going to be here much longer. There's a new permanent employee coming in who will be doing my job in addition to whatever else she's here for. So I'm here today and tomorrow to show her the ropes (or the little pieces of string, as the case may be -- it's not a very demanding job) and then I'm done.

Then on Wednesday, the idea is that I will start my new library job. I hadn't posted about that yet because Alice was supposed to call me back to confirm something about how I would get paid and when I would start and she still hasn't. I'm going to get a hold of her somehow tonight and make sure everything is going to go as planned, but barring something completely unforeseen, it should all be okay. I can only work 20 hours a week there, which is too bad, but they'll pay me just enough to make it work out. The hours are going to be 2pm until 8 or 9, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. So I'll have Mondays and Fridays completely open for long weekends or for one-day temp jobs if I need/want to round out my income. Working at the library will be a lot like the volunteer stuff I've been doing there, in that the important part is being in the computer lab helping people learn to use the machines to practice reading or english or to do e'mail and whatnot. Then when there's no one around needing help, I'll probably just do whatever random jobs need doing at the time. So it will really be a lot like another temp job in that respect. But it will be fun to work at a nice library, with people I already know and like, and to be able to walk or bike to work. So I'm looking forward to it.
Happy Birthday Greg!

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Tina's going away. Sad. She'll be in Europe and we'll all miss her, but she's coming back in six weeks, so it could be worse. I had a nice visit with her last night. She's putting all her stuffed animals into foster homes with her friends so I am now the proud guardian of Thump the Acrobatic Pig. Have a good trip, Tina!

Oh, and Tina taught me a few words in Cantonese last night, too. So now I can say such highly useful things as "duck," "head," "nose," and a few colors. That was fun. Confusing, though, since I have to think so differently about pronunciation. There's the very precise inflection, of course, but also all these strange, imaginary consonants. You have to think them, more than you actually say them. At least, that's the way it seemed to me.

I will hopefully go contradancing tonight for the first time in... hmmm... months, probably. It's been a while. That will be good to do.
Happy Birthday DeMara!

Friday, March 21, 2003

Dad was kind enough to get me my own copy of A Course in Miracles, and it arrived yesterday. (Thank you, Dad.) I opened it at random this morning to see what it had to show me and this is what I found:

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."

Yeah, I've still got a lot to do.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

War. I don't really know what to say about it. Part of me says I can never approve of attacking anyone like this. But part of me says who am I to think I know better than the leaders of our country, when my knowledge of the situation comes from watching half an hour of news in the evenings after work? But then of course, who do our leaders think they are to know better than the other members of the U.N. that disagree? What would America think of, say, France if they were attacking and we were opposed? Would they get away with it? Bush claims to have been "reluctant" to attack, but that's a bit hard to swallow, since it seems like he would have had plenty of reasons not to. He also mentioned the "honorable and decent spirit of the American military." Now, I don't deny that we've got a lot of decent and honorable people over there, who are fighting because they honestly believe they are doing the right thing, but I still have trouble associating those words with an entity that kills people, for whatever reason. The best you can say about a war, I think, is that it's strictly necessary. Honor and decency don't enter into it. Are you being forced to kill people or are there alternatives? And it seems to me that, as long as other nations thought there were alternatives, that's enough hope to postpone war. But, like I said, what do I know? War is confusing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Overheard at work today: "Okay, so I guess I'll just let him stew for a bit and then tell him 'Oh, sorry, we've found a better candidate for the job....'"

Golly, it's bad enough having been the one stewing before (including with this very company, as well as others) but to know that it's deliberate... sigh. It was nicer when I could believe people were honestly just overworked and too distracted to get back to me.
Yes, there are plus sides to being a temp. Here's an amusing article from The Onion: Temp Hides Fun, Fulfilling Life From Rest Of Office.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I got a call tonight from Alice at Project Read (the literacy tutoring program I volunteer with at the Menlo Park library) and she said it looks like they'll be able to hire someone part-time for two or three months. She was basically just giving me a heads-up so I can think about it and then we can talk it over when I go over there tomorrow night. I'd love to work at the library for a while. The thing that makes it a trickier decision is the schedule. I probably couldn't work more than 20 hours a week, for one thing. They might be able to pay me enough to get by on that, though. We'll see. And those hours would have to be in the evenings and some afternoons, which would not be my preference. On the other hand, it would be nice to be able to play piano in the mornings again, and go to the Wednesday noon concerts. And I couldn't stay later than 9pm anyway, since that's when the library closes. So it might not be too bad. It might be worth it to work there for a while. Ooh... I just remembered I signed up for the Thursday night two-step classes. Hmm. Well, I suppose I could work around that for a month or just not take the class or something. I'll figure everything out one way or another.
Waking up at 7 in the morning is much nicer in the spring, when it's sunny out. Today I even heard birds chirping when I woke up. It makes it much easier to go to work.

I signed myself up for the Thursday night two-step class starting in April. I suppose I'm mostly doing it because I don't like two-step. Something about it never quite clicked for me, but I know a lot of people really like it, so there must be something to it. Maybe after a few in-depth lessons I'll get the hang of it and start enjoying it more. If it works I'll think about tackling something harder, like those Latin dances I never do. And if not, well at least I tried.

Monday, March 17, 2003

A young man named Graham had a blog,
That was not quite so dull as a log.
To risk being sappy,
He wished readers Happy
St. Patrick's Day, green as a frog.

Oh dear. That was kind of bad, but the best I could come up with on the spur of the moment here at work. Happy St. Patrick's Day! That reminds me how long it's been since I've gone to an Irish session. Maybe I'll at least play a tune or two tonight on my own.

I've been bumped out of my cubicle now. The guys who moved my equipment over the weekend neglected to actually set any of it up or plug it in. I did the computer myself but I'm missing a cable for the scanner, so I have to wait for someone to get me that. I lost my good chair, too. Phooey. Other than that, the new location isn't too bad. It should be fine for another week or two.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

I found a really cool CD today: Intermezzo, by The Modern Mandolin Quartet. The group is a string quartet, with mandolin-family instruments substituted for violin-types (i.e. two mandolins, a mandola and a mandocello) and they play arrangements of various classical pieces. Some are pretty much direct transcriptions of string quartets, but they also have arrangements of a Brahms intermezzo, Copland's Hoedown, a Bach fugue, and other stuff. And it all sounds awesome. I love it. Yay for mandolins!
Being sick is no fun. It seems to vary a lot from day to day, though. I'm feeling mostly alright this morning but yesterday I was pretty well zonked for most of the day. I watched a lot of TV and was just generally a boring person for most of the time. I couldn't really concentrate enough to read or play music, but I didn't want to just be a couch potato either. What I wanted was some sort of project or craftsy thing that I could do while I watched TV, but I couldn't really think of anything to get interested in. I guess being sick just does that to my brain sometimes. Tina was kind enough to visit me in the evening, though, and bring me some Xiansangju Chongji tea which is good for sick throats and even tastes nice. Thank you, Tina. Today I want to go to the library and to Braun for pianowing, but it's also rather nice to stay cozy inside and listen to the rain falling on my skylight/window. I've already ventured out there to do my grocery shopping, so we'll see if I feel like heading out again.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

I went to Jammix last night but I didn't last very long. Too tired. And I didn't sleep very well last night, so I'm still feeling a bit icky. It's going to be a slow day today. I have a new accordion tune to play, though. Before the dance I finally learned the waltz from the Bread and Tulips DVD. Thanks to Miriam for helping me with the tricky bits.
Happy Birthday Hugo!

Friday, March 14, 2003

Now they've got me doing something else here at work where I actually have to read some of this legalese nonsense. Eww. It will also keep me much busier, at least for a few days.

I finished filling out my tax forms last night and it looks like I'll get almost enough of a refund to pay my rent for a month. Yay! That's the plus side to not making much money -- getting tax refunds :-)

I think I'm well enough now to go to Jammix tonight, but I probably won't stay the whole time. Getting my full allotment of sleep still sounds good. We'll see how I hold up, though.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

I heard The Carmen Fantasy by Bizet on the radio as I drove to work this morning. I don't often care for flute music but that was really something. Wow. I need to find a recording of that.

I felt pretty good last night so I went out to my usual library shift and everything, but my throat's hurting again this morning. Not so bad as before, though. I'll live. Hopefully I'll even be okay for Jammix tomorrow night.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

I got over 9 hours of sleep last night, so while I'm not entirely better yet, I am at least well-rested. And I decided I was okay enough to come to work. Things are starting to close in on me here, though. They added another new-hire into our cubicle today, which makes four of us now. But the next person isn't coming until Monday, so I haven't been kicked out yet. When that person arrives, s/he will need to work with the other people in this cube so I'll get bumped. Luckily, I'm not going to get stuck in quite as bad a spot as I thought. They found some random extra space nearby in someone's office. That will be a bit weird since it will be much closer proximity with someone I don't really know, but it will be better than the hallway cubicle I thought I'd end up in.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Okay, well I got a bit sick today. I'm getting better now, though. Really. Going to bed first. Blah....
I am not getting sick today. Nope. Not me. I say this because I woke up with a very very slight sore throat. I didn't think much of it until I got to work and realized that I am surrounded by sick, coughing people. Go away, germs!
~ healthy thoughts ~ healthy thoughts ~ healthy thoughts ~

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Fun day in Monterey today. We ended up doing the Aquarium first. The new jellyfish exhibit was kind of cool, but it was mostly art inspired by or arranged around jellyfish, and I'd just as soon look at the spiffy little critters on their own. They had one room though with a big tank and a lot of mirrors, so it looked like you were in an infinite hallway of jellyfish. That was neat. I saw one of the Ocean Sun Fish that I like so much in the Outer Bay exhibit, but I couldn't find any of my favorite little diving birds. Phooey. I also managed to pet a manta ray, which is difficult since even in the touch pool they usually huddle up in the back where you can't reach them. I do like the Aquarium. I realized after a bit that I was saying "Ooh! This is one of my favorites!" about almost everything, so the term "favorite" doesn't really mean a lot there :-)

After the Aquarium we went on a whale-watching trip. The last time I had done that was years ago with Jim and Mom and Lacey, in a little bitty motor boat, and I remember trying to stay ahead of all the big touristy ships making all their noise and scaring the whales away. Well, this time I was on the big ship. Oh well. I kind of wish we could have just stayed still for a bit to see if they whales would relax about swimming near us, but we mostly just chased them around. We saw spouts of a few gray whales, but nothing very close or exciting. I'd like to go out again sometime in the summer when the humpbacks and blues are around. So anyway, in terms of whales it was not a great success, but it was fun to be out on the ocean for a couple hours.

Here are a few pictures that I took. After a few shots at the aquarium, though, I realized my battery was about dead, so I just saved it for a few more on the boat. So there's not many.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

The Testimony show was quite good. I was especially proud of Tina, who was the one giving the testimony tonight which means she had to talk for a long time in front of a lot of people. She did a very good job, though. Yay Tina! As much fun as the concert was, though, sitting still for that long gave all my tiredness from last night a chance to catch up to me. So I felt pretty un-contra-y and just came home for an early bed.

Tomorrow I'm going to Monterey with housemates Niels, Sarah, Cheryl, possibly Micheal and probably not Daniel. The plan is to go whale watching in the morning and then to the Aquarium in the afternoon. Those were some of the things Niels wanted to make sure to do during his three months in the U.S. Should be fun.
Richard taught the hambo before FNW last night. It seems that what I had learned before was a slightly bouncier, more American folk style of hambo, but it was more or less the same. I had an exciting time trying to do a left turn hambo with Kari. I missed the lesson on the Salty Dog Rag, which was too bad, but Leta kindly taught it to me during a break. Richard also played the Chewing Gum polka, but none of the others I've been sending him. I followed swing three times (as opposed to leading it once). I really enjoy following swing, but it's a little frustrating to feel better at that than at leading it. I might be able to get Neal L. to teach me some more swing stuff, though. I like his style of swing and I also like the fact that he thinks in terms of interpreting the music, so he would be a good person to learn from. He also likes my style of waltzing and I was helping him out with that last night, so it's a good trade-off.

Tonight there's a contradance, and I haven't been contradancing in a long time. But on the other hand, I just danced a lot last night and I also really want to go to Testimony's show. So contra might have to wait another two weeks, unless I feel particularly energized and want to do the last half of the dance after the concert. I kind of doubt that, but we'll see.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Uh oh. This is starting to look ominous. Now I've got two people behind me, which uses up all the normal seating places in this cube (i.e. 3 corners -- the fourth is left open for an entrance). On Monday we're going to be sticking someone on the side, between two of us. The other available side has filing cabinets. Then sometime after that they want to put yet another person in here. Ack. Maybe I'll be gone before it gets that full. I hope so. Because otherwise I'm going to get bumped out and stuck in between my supervisor and the other person in her cube, which is one of the noisier, more trafficky places around here. That would be horrid -- it's practically part of the hallway there, and she's nice but I would probably go insane if I were in such close proximity to her for very long. Maybe I could just go hide in a cupboard out of the way somewhere. But I'm being a good little temp and not complaining, since I know I'll at least be able to save myself from the impending suffocation, which is more than the permanent employees can do.
I guess the most tiresome thing about sharing a cubicle is having people come in and hold mini-meetings or conversations while I'm quietly trying to work. Or more likely, while I'm quietly trying to read when there's nothing to do, without looking like I'm blatantly goofing off. Work doesn't take much concentration, but reading Joyce certainly does. Oh well.

I saw Deb here again today and found out that it's her birthday. Happy Birthday Deb! Maybe she'll show up at FNW tonight and we can get her a birthday waltz. As always, I'm looking forward to the dancing. I wonder if Richard will play any of the songs I've been sending him? That would be nice.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

So of course after I wrote that last entry things got busier. The way it tends to go is that there are long, empty stretches of time and then a pile of things to do all at once. But no one thing is terribly difficult on its own, so it's all okay.
My supervisor just told me that they're going to want me around here for at least the next two weeks, and maybe all the way until the end of March. I'm not entirely sure why, since my workload has been ridiculously low, but it's okay with me. I make more than enough money here to cover my expenses, plus I tend to have quite a bit of reading and writing time, so I'll just enjoy it while it lasts. I'm getting a bit tired of driving down 101 every day, but I think there's a shuttle bus that comes out here from Caltrain, so maybe I'll check that out. fRed's probably getting tired of commuting, too, and I know my gas mileage has gone down a lot.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

I finished reading The Salmon of Doubt today. I very highly recommend that to anyone who enjoys Douglas Adams' other books. I'd only read his novels before and it was fascinating to read bits and pieces from him on all sorts of topics, from computers to his nose to the Brandenburg Concertos to atheism to travelling through Africa in a rhino suit. It also contains 11 chapters of the novel he was working on when he died, which was fun to read but frustrating to stop in the middle of. It's sad to think it will never get finished. The world lost a pretty amazing guy when he died.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I learned tonight that air is actually a fluid. This was rather alarming at first until it was explained to me that "fluid" is not synonymous with "liquid." Sigh. Just when I thought I had this whole breathing thing figured out. My poor little brain.
By the way, I do have a new cube-mate now. She's temporary, too, but she's a contractor rather than just "a temp," so Google likes her better. You can tell because she not only had a computer ready for her on the first day, but also a complete assortment of office supplies. It took me a week to get a computer and I had to snag my own stuff from the supply room. Oh well. It was sort of funny yesterday, because all this new stuff was showing up at my desk. I got in early that morning (after over a month with Google) and all of a sudden found that I had notepads and pens and highlighters and a tape dispenser and a stapler and kleenex and a wastepaper bin and everything. I was just starting to go "Aw, they do love me after all" when I realized it was all supposed to be for the new person. :-) Anyway, she seems nice enough and it's not terribly annoying to have her working behind me. It's a fairly good-sized cube after all, so it could be a lot worse.

In literary news, I started reading Ulysses the other day. That's going to be one of the trickier books I've ever attempted and I'm not even going to pretend to understand it all, but I still find it strangely fascinating. Part of it is just the way Joyce plays around with language, which I really enjoy. I wouldn't want to write like him, but there are certain aspects of his writing that it would be fun to emulate. Plus, this will be sort of a stepping-stone on the way to the real brainsquasher, which will be Finnegan's Wake. That one looks delightfully insane. We'll see if I make it through both books. In an entirely different corner of the book world, I pre-ordered my copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last week. I'm very excited, but it's going to be a long wait until June.
Happy Birthday Erin!

Monday, March 03, 2003

I was thinking today that my house needs a name. Something other than The Webster Street Hotel, which is pretty much what it is now. If any of you who have met my house have a good suggestion, leave me a comment or an e'mail or something and let me know.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Dad and Betty Lue are in Palo Alto today so Dad came by for a visit this morning while B'lue was at a seminar. I hadn't seen him for a couple months and it was nice to talk with him for a while. He's a good person to talk to when I need to get some things figured out about what sort of a world I'm creating for myself. I've got a lot of things to think about now. Thanks, Dad.
I went to hear the Stanford Symphony Orchestra last night, which was quite fun. My favorite piece was Beethoven's 4th piano concerto, Thomas Schultz on piano. I've gotten fairly good at taking advantage of all the opportunities to hear solo recitals and chamber music here at Stanford, but I don't often go to anything orchestral. I should do that more often.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Rough day today for poor fRed, but hopefully he'll be okay by the end of it. First, I took him to get smogged. No big deal there. Then I had to take him somewhere else to get an oil change (long overdue) because the place I had a smog coupon for doesn't do oil changes on weekends. When I went to pick him up after that, I was given a list of various other things he needs to have fixed, all of which would probably amount to most of the money I managed to save over the last month (just when I thought I was starting to do pretty well....). Right now, I'm opting to just get the brakes fixed up, since they're the main safety issue. The other stuff has too low of a urgency::price ratio for me to want to deal with it just yet. Sigh. I don't like dealing with car stuff. I know so little about it that I always feel completely clueless. The guys at the shop were very friendly and showed me everything that was wrong, but I sort of just nodded politely at all the intricate little car parts and took their word for it. And it all costs so much. Oh well. I just tell myself that fRed has been a very good car and has taken good care of me so far, so the least I can do is to shell out a few hundred dollars once in a while to keep him in decent shape.