A Dilemma Everyone Should Have

Chaos in Print

It’s a very strange time for me. I’ve been doing this column for two years now, and a trend has started over the past two years. Here, in the column closest to my birthday, I’m supposed to do some moody and introspective piece about what’s behind me and where my life is headed. But, I’m not feeling moody and introspective this year. Maybe it’s because I have to charge off to this family reunion thing, and my mind’s too focused on that. So, this one is something a little more upbeat. My savings account has just hit the magic number where I contemplate making a major purchase. The last time I was in this position was in January, and I went and bought my DVD player. In a little bit of thinking out loud, I’m going to contemplate what major purchase I should make. Come now! Come feel envious of me as I ramble on and on about how to spend my money!

A new computer – Ahh, the one that’s been at the forefront of my mind for many a year now. Since I’ve always wanted to get into building my own computer (and thus upgrading whenever I feel like or can afford to), I’ve been going over this one with my ol’ buddy Darmok. Darmok has built his own, and he has quite a sweet set-up. It’s great talking this over with Darmok. He reminds me of this character from the book Space. This one character was a NASA scientist who believed that nothing was impossible. When asked if men could be place on the moon, he’d say, “I can start building the rocket tomorrow!” When asked about going to Mars, he’d say, “We can go tomorrow!” When asked about putting a radio telescope in orbit that was 50 football fields across, he said, “I can build it tomorrow!” When I ask Darmok about a new computer, he says, “We can build it tomorrow!” Here’s the latest set-up Darmok’s planned out for me: 256M SDRAM, 40G hard drive, 800 MHZ Celeron processor, 16X DVD-ROM drive, burner, 56k modem, and of course, requisite sound card, video card, floppy drive, and case to stick it all in. All for around $1500. That’s not too bad, seeing as to how that’s what I paid for my current machine 4 years ago. Pro: I really, really, really want one. Con: 4 years ago, I was making $10/h in a gravel pit. I made $1500 in a month and a half. Now, I’m making just above minimum wage in a grocery store. It’s taken me 8 months to make $1500. Plus, the most heartbreaking thing I ever did was write that cheque for $1500 to pay for my computer. I’m afraid to love again.

A video camera – Perhaps the one thing on this list that I’ve wanted the longest. I’ve always dreamed of just picking one up and going off and pretending I’m Steven Spielberg. Most of the newer cameras are all digital now, making ones that still use video tape relatively cheap. I can get a good one for less than what I paid for my DVD player! 11 years ago, Francis Ford Coppola, director of the Godfather movies and mentor to George Lucas, said, “Very soon, some fat little 10-year old girl will make the world’s greatest movie, using nothing but her father’s video camera.” I believe I am that fat little girl. Pro: I’ve wanted one for so long, I should quit torturing myself. Con: No new computer means no video capture card means no fancy editing on my computer. I’m stuck in Entwistle, meaning no friends, meaning no cast, meaning no audience. I’ll have a camera, but not much else.

My URL – chaosinabox.com. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I’ve been exploring this one through a number of websites and such, but I’ll admit, I don’t really know much about the market, and so I get lost quite easily. Every time I go to sign up for one, it asks me for IP’s and such, and I just don’t have that information. Essentially, I want my URL, but not something so labour-intensive that I have to move the site off of Angelfire. I guess all I really need is a redirect service. Type in chaosinabox.com, and go to my angelfire.com/hi/chaosinabox. Pro: Wanted it for a long time, plus perhaps the cheapest on the list. Con: Don’t know much about the market, and quite easy to get screwed.

The surround sound set-up – I knew that when I bought the DVD player, I would start spiraling down towards a whole home theater. The next most logical step would be a surround sound decoder, a subwoofer, and 5 huge-ass speakers. Like with my DVD player, though, I would probably spend the next two months doing market research and such before settling on something. However, my parents’ living room, where the DVD player is currently located, is somewhat oddly shaped, making speaker placement difficult. And besides, every time I fire up a DVD, my Dad complains that I’ve already watched that movie several times. Now he’ll be complaining that I’ve seen it too many times and it’s too loud. Pro: Just think of the sound quality! Con: Awkward to set up, and complaining father means I won’t be using it much.

Travel – So Chuck and L are living out in Vancouver now. I’ve always wanted to get out and see my country. What better way to do it than to go crash with a couple friends? I’ve fished for an invitation, and I’ve gotten it. I’d want to go by train, though, and a round trip ticket from Edmonton to Vancouver is about what I paid for my DVD player. The Rockies by rail, and enjoying the sights and sounds of a new city with dear friends! What could be better? Pro: Potential grand adventure! Con: Chuck and L currently have business to attend to in Victoria, and head off to Japan in September. The only time this could be done is August, meaning I’d have to start putting things in place NOW!

Student Loans – Interest relief essentially means I get charged no interest on my loans. None of these purchases can be made guilt-free as long as I have that $20,000 debt hanging over my head. Since no interest is being charged, why not pay down that principle a little? Pro: The landscape can be changed with a single flower. Con: It’s just a drop in the bucket, so what’s the point?

Investments – When my sister was saving her money to go backpacking across Europe, she’d lock away her money in these short-term, high interest savings accounts. You’d lock away $500 in this account, you’re unable to touch for two years, and when it unlocks, it’s gone up to $700. Why not start planning for the future? Pro: More money! Con: In two years, in which case I’ll be in this dilemma all over again.

So, these are essentially the options I’m considering. I know, now you’re all envious and ready to beat the crap out of me. I’ll have something angst-ridden next week, OK? Sheesh, at least give me this.