succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Vacation does a body good (or why I have to periodically get the eff out of here)

So I snuck off to the beach for a couple of days. Corrine's in-laws had a time-share for the week in Panama City, FL and poor Mike was off at job interviews, so his loss was my gain when C invited me to come along instead! Preparing for departure is always stressful (hi, 6 am freak-out regarding poster prep for next weekend) but being gone is always nice. We drove down Wednesday afternoon, braved the stormy weather Thursday, and were rewarded with general gorgeousness Friday prior to our evening departure.

In other news, I whined to the parents about my dead laptop, and like the lovely parental units that they are, they insisted on sending a check. So my current choices (based primarily on CNET reviews) are: HP Compaq Presario V3000t, HP Pavilion dv2000t, Dell Inspiron E1405 or 1505. Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Apparently I jinxed myself. Our department tech guy just left and confirmed what I feared - the laptop is dead. Sigh. At least the silver lining is that soon (hopefully) I'll have one that actually plays sound again, and on my next long-ish flight instead of being stuck watching A Good Year or Love Story I can pack my own movies. And the thing won't weigh 8 pounds.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Advice! (thanks in advance!)

First - Financial Gurus:
Next year I'll take a whopper of a hit come tax time, because my university chooses to dole out my entire NIH training grant money each month and leave me to pay all the taxes all at once in April. So, I'm math-savvy enough to figure out that I should be socking away $250-$300 each month to avoid crying in April '08, but is there something 'better' I can do with that money besides just slide it into my savings account and pretend like it doesn't exist? I know in the world of investing and interest rates a few hundred bucks probably isn't worth anything, especially over just 12 months (or fewer) but thought I'd look for suggestions anyway.

Second - Technical Gurus:
So my grand plan was for my laptop to hang in there (along with my car) until I entered the working world. But the poor 6-year-old Dell is showing signs that she may be closer to her last legs than I'd prefer. The main reason I've been clinging to such outdated technology is that I don't really use it much anymore for heavy lifting - the only work-related stuff is simple word documents and otherwise it's just an internet machine. Given the nature of my field, I suspect that this will continue to be true, regardless of what sort of future job I get (large datasets and time-consuming programs are best run on company-provided fancy-schmancy machines), but I won't be able to know that for sure until, duh, I'm hired somewhere. So, if I knew what I was looking for, I'd be able to comb through various online reviews and make some decisions...but since I can only guess at my future needs, I'm a little lost. Any suggestions for a reasonable baseline set of features to cover most of my bases?

And lastly, my idiot bill this month is getting extravagant - $22 for two tickets to a concert I didn't attend (and should have been able to predict I wasn't going to go), $3 because I forgot my oil change coupon this morning, and $3 more because I left my coupons sitting my back pocket while checking out at krogers this afternoon instead of handing them to the nice lady to ring up. Blah.