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Pictures in the Sky

There are three main highways that run through Austin. There’s I-35, the largest highway in the area, running the entire length from San Antonio, through Austin, all the way up to Dallas. There’s Route 1 — also known as MoPac because it runs alongside the Missouri-Pacific railway line — which provides access to most of Austin. Finally, there is 183, a smaller road that primarily serves areas in North Austin. It also continues on down south to the airport, but it becomes less of a highway at that point.

My commute to work involves 183, and there are a few billboards dotted along its length. One that popped up recently was quite simple: the word “healthcare” in all caps and a colorful font. A week later, it changed. The billboard looked like it was split into two, breaking the word down the middle. And then finally, another week later, the billboard returned to its normal rectangular shape with a band-aid down the middle. The word “healthcare” had been replaced with the word “humancare”, and a local hospital’s logo was in the bottom right. At last, the mysterious series of ads made sense.

It’s not really the message that grabbed my attention though. Rather, it was the billboard itself that brought back memories of my childhood.

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… and a new car!

First, an explanation: anyone following me on twitter must be confused. For the last couple of weeks, I was umming and aahing about whether to buy a Macbook Pro. And then not long afterwards, I go out and buy a car. Well, the real reason for the difference is that I didn’t need the Macbook, but I did need the car. I admit that I probably spent a little more on the car than I had intended, but it’s okay. It was a great time to buy it.

So yeah, I got a new car! Another Civic, 2009, and it’s very spiffy. I wanted to take a moment to thank my previous car, though.

I got it — a 1998 Civic — in 2001 after my first car died and I needed a car for my internship down in North Carolina at IBM. It put up with a lot — not only the aforementioned trip from Massachusetts to North Carolina (and back), but many trips between MA and Troy, NY for college. It weathered many a brutal snow storm in Troy, and once again served me faithfully when I drove down to Maryland for my first job after graduating college. So for that, and more — thank you.

It just recently passed 100,000 miles and had several small problems. Considering the recent stimulus that passed, and the current economic situation, it seemed like a great time to buy.

And so yeah — I splurged a bit. But I think in the end I made the right decision. I think. It’s definitely a beautiful car :o)