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My car just failed an emissions check. I have an offer on the table to sell it for $2000 and walk away.

When I bought it two years ago, the purchase price and other “miscellaneous”¬†items came to $3300 and I have spent about $2000 in repair and maintenance (including nice new tires) over that time. I have also spent $3600 on gas in that same period.

The monthly operating expenses are $150/month for gas and $80/month for maintenance, so about $240/month give or take. If I sell it, the capital outlay would have been $1300, or about $650/year or 50/month, which is equivalent to a nice low car payment.

If I don’t sell it and can keep it passing emissions tests, I’m sure I could drive the car for another 8 years at which point it will be worth nothing, so capex becomes $330/year or $25/month, basically negligible. I’d expect the repair bills to average lower if I’m not replacing tires all the time, but to remain about the same if emissions continue to give me trouble and are repairable.

Decision time: sell the car now or try to get it to pass the smog? I’m pretty happy with the car otherwise, and I have one free retest I can do before I have to make a final decision.

My goals in rough order of priority are:
1/ maximize convenience
2/ minimize cost
3/ screw the system

I’m thinking about buying some of this stuff¬†and driving around a bunch tonight and going for the re-test tomorrow. If I still fail, I sell the thing to the dude tomorrow. If I pass, I have another two years before I have to make the decision again.

Better ideas?

Old La Honda to Lexington Reservoir Loop

Pretty epic afternoon ride today. I started by searching out the Old La Honda Road climb to Skyline Boulevard (I took a wrong turn the first time and had to loop around to find it again), and then I headed south on Skyline all the way down to Black Road, which turned out to be a pretty crazy descent down to Highway 17. I found my way across, and then encountered an unexpected gravel descent on the Los Gatos Creek Trail. A mountain bike would have been appropriate at that point, but I survived. I then made my way back via Los Gatos-Saratoga Road and Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road before stopping for dinner at In-N-Out on El Camino and finishing up the ride. Skyline turned out to whip me pretty well, and I was struggling to keep up the pace on the flats afterward. Half of that is mental discipline, and the other half is physical readiness. At any rate, I haven’t been this sore after a ride since last year’s Seattle to Portland bike ride, which was more than three times as long.

  • Distance: 66 miles / 106 km
  • Time: 4:50:51
  • Average Speed: 13.6 mph / 21.9 kph
  • Max speed: 39.2 mph / 63.0
  • Cumulative ascent: 3820 ft / 1164 m

Pepsi Can Meets BB

Catching up

I’m having trouble sleeping right now, so I decided to do a catch-up blog post.

First, work has been fantastic. I’m definitely being stretched, which is great for me and I hope for Facebook as well. I’m pretty excited about a couple of the things I’m working on right now, and I may be able to share it sooner rather than later. Part of my sleep woes are the fact that my schedule got knocked pretty off kilter when a friend-of-a-friend reported a bug on Facebook to me, and I stayed up a good part of Saturday night managing that. My schedule has been a little wonky since that, but it has still been a good week overall.

Last weekend, I made it up to San Francisco again and visited with Paul, who I’ve known since 1st grade. I’m pretty sure he’s the oldest friend I have that I’m still in touch with. He showed me his art studio and his apartment in the city, and we visited San Francisco’s Ocean Beach in time for a nice sunset, took pictures in some city-enhancing fog, and ate Mexican and sushi at a couple of restaurants. It was good times. I’ve posted pictures on Facebook that anyone can view.

I visited the family for Thanksgiving, returning my car to Washington in the process. I drove up Wednesday night, staying at my sister’s place in Eugene before arriving in Bellevue in time for a nice low-key Thanksgiving dinner at my parent’s place with some family friends, the Paulsens. We were expecting a more bustling time with my Redmond-based cousins and their kids, but they were all suffering from illness and weren’t able to make it. The food was good but unconventional, as is my family’s tradition. We ate Salmon instead of Turkey, for starters. Afterward, we had a wonderful conversation with our guests.

I also got to see a lot of friends. I watched the Apple Cup with Jon, Maneesh, Bobby, and Ananth, played Munchkin with the 5011 crew, heard Peter Ellis perform his Cello at Kate’s Pub in Wallingford, chatted while walking around Seattle with Theo, met up with a long lost high school friend, watched Ninja Assassin, and generally kept myself busy — or at least occupied! I even met some new and interesting people along the way. I worked from home on Monday, and flew back to SFO on Tuesday morning.

With my upcoming trip back to Washington for Christmas, I will have visited Washington every month since I moved to California, and I think I will have spent more time in Washington after summer than I did during the summer this year. On my trip, I will actually be stopping in Las Vegas to see my brother, sister-in-law, and my new niece, who I have yet to meet in person. I’m am very much looking forward to that.

Second Bay Ride — Page Mill Road

After watching the Huskies lay down the law against the USC Trojans, I took off on my second “Bay Area Ride” yesterday. I started out on my road bike and headed back to Big 5, where I returned the crappy pump I picked up last week. Then I headed up Page Mill Road, which true to its reputation, offers a difficult hill climb and some stunning views. Fifteen miles into my journey, the sun was getting low in the sky, and I was pretty whipped, so I turned around. No sooner did I start my descent then I head a twang, which sounded a little too familiar. I stopped and checked out the bike, and sure enough, I had lost another spoke on my rear wheel.

I had a long way to go down, with my rear wheel rubbing my brake pads (which I had already loosened) the whole way down. Also, I didn’t know how much lateral stress the wheels could take, so I took it pretty slow around all the curves. It was not as much fun as it otherwise would have been, but at least the bike survived all the way back.

Page Mill is definitely a ride that I’ll want to do again, hopefully to the top soon enough. It is certainly a good way to work on my (rather poor) hill climbing skills.

Bar Area Ride 2

Bay Area Cycling

Today I went for a nice leisurely 20-ish mile bike ride around Palo Alto.


Leaving my new house, I first visited Facebook’s headquarters, where I’ll be starting on Monday. Then I went by a Big 5 to pick up a bike pump, which I immediately used to get my tired up to 60 psi, before heading out for the rest of the Journey. I headed up University Ave to look at the outside of a condo I have my eye on, and then I continued to the shore, before returning via University Ave once again. It was a nice ride with only one hitch: a crazed bee (or similar) stung me on my right hand in some sort of odd glancing blow that left me hurting and it long gone. My hand is a little bit swollen, but I figure it will be fine in a day or so.

Out at the bay, there were a few cool places, but they all seem to be closed:


After the ride, Brian came over from Alameda, and we ate Thai and then watched Primer (always an excellent movie).

One day of unabashed freedom left, then it’s time to get to work!