Things that work well: Mass transit. The bus system here has been working very well for me, even when I get on the wrong bus. The sidewalk around work has been under construction recently, so I've been taking the bus as often as I've been walking; it's a significant inconvenience to route around the construction. There are three buses that go both by my office and my apartment, and several more thant go about two-thirds of the way.
I guessed wrong when I tried to go for a 2/3-of-the-way bus and wound up on one that went about a quarter of the way- with the best drop off point right in the middle of the sidewalk construction. So the bus couldn't stop there- he went up to the next stop, as I explained I'd like to know which stop was closest to my destination- and noting that he was ahead of schedule and I was the only person on the bus, he drove to the bus stop adjacent to my apartment. Some bus drivers are seriously cool like that. (And yes, adjacent to my apartment, not just to my apartment complex- or as close as it needs to be; the building my apartment's in is the second-closest to the stop, which is- in a word- convenient, especially since those routes go to four major shopping malls and the library.) And they know their jobs well; they'll tell you better stops to use than what the online route planner says, and many of 'em are quite glad to hold all manner of interesting conversation while they go about their business- I suppose most people can talk while they drive, at least somewhat, so why not a professional who drives for a living?
All that and even if I was paying fare- which I'm not, I've got a bus pass from Microsoft- it would still be cheaper than a car, and I don't have to worry about parking. In short: Reports of how much my inability to drive would cripple me are greatly exaggerated.
Importantly, the 230 goes right next to the library, as does the 545. Discovering this should do a great deal towards curbing my book spending. Why go to a bookstore when I could go to the library instead? Admittedly, the bookstore has a better selection- especially for science fiction- and I don't have to give the books back, but the library gives me a good chance to figure out which ones I actually want to keep. I'd forgotten what it's like to have a good library within range- the library near home in St. Louis was pretty lousy, and free time to read was a luxury I had little of at college.
And except for one screaming child, the inside of the library was quiet. But yesterday was a nice day I would rather spend outisde reading instead of inside reading, so I went for the benches outside0 and inadvertently seemed to have crashed a meeting of the Trans-Redmond Screaming Tantrum Society. The cigarette smoke didn't help.
But at least the screaming people are outside, and keeping them outside is better than a lot of libraries I've been in. So I suppose I have little ground to complain- good organization and selection are the most important attributes of a library anyway, and they did well at those. I currently have checked out two general books on occultism, one critical analysis of paranormal claims, one book on Tarot reading, and one book on orgasms. And to read these books on at home, I have my choice of computer chairs, a beanbag chair, or- finally- an actual bed, instead of my supervisor's air mattress (or the beanbag chair, which turns out to be more comfortable), with a padded leather headboard designed for sitting up against and reading- and it does its task very well. It's nice to have a bed that actually has a good mattress for a change- this morning, for the first time in years, I woke up without a backache, and that justified the entire price tag of the bed.
I am so totally out of space on my MP3 player... I need a new one, with at least 60GB of storage, or a new hard drive for this one. A 100GB hard drive compatible with my current player would be cheaper than a new 60GB player, so I'll plan on that. But it'll be a while before I can get it- I've decided to be rigid about my budgeting for luxury items, and the replacement drive will take a full two months of not buying anything to make up for. I'm starting to have to remove stuff from the player to fit my collection in- I think I'll have run out of lousy stuff to delete only barely after the earliest I'd be able to buy the drive! Saving money it is, then...