13 August - 2 December 2002

My work situation starting on the 25th of July, my last day with the Reno Housing Authority, became VERY worrisome. I reached the point that I wasn't sure I was going to get my next months rent except borrow it or dip into 401-K monies. I went from then until the 18th of September with only one other assignment and that gave me only 38 1/2 hours. Went to work at Baldini's Casino on the 18th; replacing a woman that was moving to Maui, HI. Doing Slot Accounting, some general busy work associated with that plus some involvement with the Food Accounting side of the operation. I report directly to the CFO/Partner. There are four Partners, two of them sisters of the original owner plus the former Operations Manager and my boss. It is a good place to work so far and I was assigned as Temp-to-Perm which looks like it will become a permanent full time job after January 1st. This will be my fist "real" job since I quit Harrah's in 1996 and went into the Peace Corps. I was originally working a 6:30 to 3:30 Mon - Fri schedule; however, the other guy in my office that did the Sat "slot drop" had to go out for surgery two weeks ago and I'm now working Tue - Sat. This will continue until he comes back and then maybe I go back to the original schedule - not sure at this point. My boss has been doing the Monday "drop" but he leaves about 1/3rd of the work for me to do on Tue so I'll be glad to get back to the original work load.

Full time work is a good and necessary thing for I have bought a MINI Cooper that is now sailing for Port Hueneme, CA to arrive on 7 Dec. I looked at the 2001 Insight and considered it as a strong possibility but they raised the 2002 price to $20,280 and I don't think they have a 2003 model. The Insight was also underpowered for long highway trips, as is the new Civic Hybrid. They are great for running around town but not much in the way of a touring car, underpowered, subject to winds, high dollar battery replacements and uncertain servicing. The MPG of 46/51 for the Civic is very attractive I must say, and many people report over 60 on the highway with the Insight. I also looked at the Golf TDI for that same reason, high MPG. I even tried to buy one back in July but got only one reply out of 3 dealers for a 2003 model. The 2003s were not released until September and the ONLY quote I got was for $17,800 Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) without ESP (a computerized stability control system). I didn't want the car unless it had the ESP (which was being offered on 2003 models, sometime in the model year) and I didn't want to wait an undetermined time. I also didn't want to pay MSRP for the 2003 model when they were selling 2002's at $2,000 under MSRP. In fact the local dealer that gave me the quote said that that was a "Special Internet" price that the lot price would be MSRP plus a $1,995 "Market Adjustment". I just don't think the TDI is worth that price. It has manifold clogging issues because of design and US diesel fuel quality as well as an ongoing MAF sensor failure issue, both items being high dollar unless you do your own work. So I ordered a MINI Cooper at the end of September from the dealer in Salt Lake City- Murray, UT. They are selling the MINI at MSRP versus $1,000 to $5,000 add-ons at other dealers and offered a Nov build with Feb delivery. This is the new "hot" car of the year and 6 month or 1 year waits are not uncommon. I wanted to buy the car back in March when it was first released to the USA but the dealer in Sacramento refused to honor his "wait list", was charging $1,000 over MSPR in junk add-ons, plus $2,500 "Market Adjustment" and refused to take customer orders - sold what he had first come first serve at the add-on price. I wrote the dealer and MINI USA an e-mail that told them what I thought of the dealership, I was not going to buy a MINI because of the policies adopted and that I thought such policies were hurting the MINI sales effort everywhere.

So After 6 1/2 years I will once again be a real American; that is working a full time job, owning a car and making monthly car payment once again! Our car culture is such that illegal immigrants with a car are far more accepted as "one of us" than the native born without a car. If you happen to be "homeless" in the USA that is just bad luck, nothing that you have control over; however, to be "car less" is a sign of moral weakness. To punish someone in this country we take away their car or their "right" to drive a car. I can still remember when driving was a privilege, but now everything is a "right". We have had a very curious turn of values in the last 50 years.

The weather has been very unseasonable this fall, even for Northern Nevada. We usually have a lot of winds but this year it has been relatively calm. The usual pattern is for it to get very cold very fast right after our first snow/rains in the fall. This year it got cold very gradually and with no winds we had a very colorful fall leaf show. The trees seem to generate better color when the temperature change is more gradual versus a quick cold snap. Only one big snow storm for the season so far so the ski resorts are not happy but it has been very nice for us down here in the Truckee Meadows.

Well that is about it for the moment. Probably won't write again until next year, have a VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY