Computer nerd alert! And, on guilt

I took lots of photos last night and will post them as soon as I can. That roast pork was amazing – Jac’s brother said the meat fell off the bone so “it carved itself”! This morning, I packed Jac up a lunchbox of leftovers – pork, apple sauce, potatoes, cauliflower cheese and bread. I had a plate of leftovers for my lunch today, with a little bonus: two pieces of crackling that had sneaked into the roast potato dish. If I had known of their existence last night I would’ve eaten them then and there! They were just as good today.

I haven’t been very productive today because I’ve been completely preoccupied by something more interesting – choosing the components for building my new desktop pc. The old one finally died (it was pretty old – an AMD Athlon 1.0Ghz with a socket A motherboard with a measly 256MB of RAM). I’ve never done the hands-on hardware installation stuff before, but this time I will be the builder with my brother the expert supervisor. He’s been really patient, answering all my questions and giving good advice. For me the thrill was not just in designing the new computer part by part but also getting the best prices for everything.

Anyway, all the parts have been ordered. Here are the specs (for those interested).

My budget was around $2000 (Of course, I would love to have a spare $5000 to spend on a computer but we didn’t win Lotto this week). All up this stuff cost me under $1850.

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (dual core)
MOBO: ASUS A8N-SLI nForce 4 2X 16X PCI-E 10xUSB2 Socket 939 GLAN Firewire SATA
RAM: 1 x OCZ Value 2.5 PC-3200 1Gb Kit (512Mbx2) CAS2.5 Dual Channel PC3200 DC) DDR RAM
GRAPHICS: XFX Nvidia GeForce 6600GT PCI-E 128MB DDR3 Dual DVI TV Out
PSU Antec SmartPower 2.0 400W ATX Power Supply – ATX2.0 24Pin SATA PCI-Express Connectors
HDD 1 x Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200.8 SATA 150MBYTE/SEC 8mb Cache with NCQ
O/S: Windows Home Pro SP2 OEM
DVD BURNER : LiteOn SOHW-1693S 16x Beige with Black Panel inside box NERO included
TV TUNER: DVICO FusionHDTV DVB-T Plus with remote

I’m recycling the following from my old computer:
Floppy drive (black)
Current Liteon DVD ROM/CDRW combo drive – will use this as second optical drive – not black but it’s a really good drive
Thermaltake Big Typhoon cpu cooler fan
Front 8mm case fan
My two CRT monitors (20″ and 17″)
Black case

Later on I hope to get more RAM to double it to 2GB, another big HDD and I will need a new printer too, a laser mono one. My current printer is a shitty little Lexmark inkjet thing – the print quality is crap and the ink on printed pages takes an eternity to dry. But for now I need to come to terms with the cash I’ve spent.

I’ve always had this problem spending money – I think I’ve written about this before – I always feel really guilty. Everything needs to be justified and the best price possible. I think it is the result of coming from not-that-well-off family with five kids. I was raised to live frugally, which isn’t a bad thing. I wouldn’t say we were poor as such (we ate some damned delicious meals, so we certainly didn’t starve!), but I grew up wanting lots of things that I never got because they weren’t needs… I remember wanting the full paperback sets of St. Clare’s and Malory Towers books, the LEGO Police Station set, the water game with a jumping frog and brightly coloured balls, a plastic briefcase with yellow and orange rubbery worms in it… I could go on. I suppose in my adult life I have always been guilt-ridden about spending money on myself because I’ve never had much disposal income. Even when I worked at my best-paying job to date earning three times what I’m living on now, I was still wracked with guilt when spending money on myself on wants. I’ve also got this thing about saving up money just in case something goes horribly wrong and we need emergency funds (this fear came true a couple of years ago when our hot water system died in the middle of winter – and yes, I was able to pay to get it sorted out).

As I was explaining to Jac, this computer is not a clearly black-or-white want or need thing – I want it because I need it. And I need it because I want it. I love it, I need it, and that’s why I want it. It’s an important part of my life. I tried to explain to her by relating it to hockey. She’s played hockey since she was 14, and plans on playing until she physically can’t anymore (then she plans to switch to lawn bowls – seriously!). It’s always been understood that hockey is something she has to do, because it’s part of her life and she wants to do it. Even when we were at our poorest it was always something we agreed on – we would get the money to pay her hockey fees and we would also get the money to pay my internet bills. It’s not a need only because she needs to have the regular exercise and enjoys the team sport; she could get those things with soccer or netball (just as example) – so hockey is not needed specifically for that – but she wants to play hockey because she loves it, and that’s why she needs it. It’s sort of the same with my computers.

(If you are still awake, well done!)

My mind kept wandering back to the pc specs no matter what I tried to do, so in the end I decided I would just get it all sorted and out of the way so I could stop thinking about it. But now I am really behind – I haven’t exercised yet, haven’t done the dishes (all the fatty, oily roasting trays from yesterday are still sitting there), and I had planned to cook dinner but I really don’t know if I can be bothered now. It’s Monday night – which means Jac is at hockey and I have the option of cooking for myself only, cooking for us both or just microwaving a tinned meal (my current favourites are the Heinz Big Eat All-Day Breakfast and Ravioli Bolognaise). If I choose not to cook for us both Jac will just make herself cheese on toast or something simple, or I will rustle her up something quick like Indomie or an omelette. When I do cook a proper meal sometimes Jac will get home feeling like cheese on toast, and will have her dinner the next day for lunch instead.

So now this is what I have to do:
Exercise (to work off that cheese cake I shouldn’t have eaten last night)
Wash dishes (which will please Jac when she arrives home and sees everything clean and stacked to dry – she’s very much like a Sim, really affected by the Room Score)
Make dinner (I can do this later I suppose – I am not yet starving)
Upload last night’s photos (should do sometime tonight, weather forecast is for thunderstorms tomorrow, so I may not be online or working on laptop)

UGH! Decisions…

And I feel like I have more to write, but I’ve already spent half an hour typing and editing here. I am even more behind!

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