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3:19 am EDT        77°F (25°C) in North Little Rock, AR

Calendar of Updates

I don't know how I missed this — well, actually, I do; it was a matter of shoddy record-keeping on my part — but the 200th update in the history of this News section passed by a little over two weeks ago. My June 3 update was the one. I maintain a "counter" in the HTML code of each page here; however, it is completely up to me to remember to change that number. (You don't see it here, as it is commented out so that the browser doesn't display it.) On two occasions in April and May, I apparently forgot to change the numbers over; as a result, I had been thinking that this update would be #200, but upon counting to make sure, I discovered my error. This update is actually the 202nd one in this section's history.

It's always interesting to think about the history of this entire site. I made a News update on November 30, 2000 that told much of the early history of this site; since then, I haven't done much in that regard. Though this site was not even online for much of the period between January 2002 and February 2004, I have now maintained Larry's Phat Page for well over five years — it originally went live on November 24, 1998. I won't go into the 1998-2001 history here, as the aforementioned update from 2000 does that quite well; I will start with 2002.

On January 1 of that year, I began five weeks with a trainer from USA Truck, Inc.; in mid-February of that year, I passed all my road tests and got my own truck. During the next six months with USA, my cash flow was SO horrible that I could barely afford to eat without constantly drawing advances against future weeks' pay; USA Truck's little trick of giving you 1,300 miles per week at $0.24 per mile was responsible for that. (It was during that period of time that my car was repossessed — I was so far behind on the roughly $12,000 I still owed on the loan, and could sometimes barely come up with $10 to eat, much less $290 for that monthly payment.) My next employer, U.S. Xpress Enterprises, would at least give me closer to 2,000 miles a week, but paid just as poorly as USA.

After ten months spent with USX, I moved to Palm Springs, CA mostly at the urging of a family member who lives there. Going into too many details here would upset some people; suffice it to say the month I lived there turned out to be an all-around disaster. In early August of last year, I went back to trucking with my current company, which pays me much better (currently $0.36 per mile) and, most weeks, tops that off with respectable miles.

Five months into this job, I had saved a fair bit of money and identified three big-ticket items I needed to buy or save for before I could reach my eventual goal of getting back into school. The first and cheapest of these was this laptop on which I am currently writing this update. As part of that, I made some investments in different Internet-access methods, and also decided to resurrect this site. I had some dead links to remove, but all of those were taken care of within a week of going back up. I know I've been quite slow on the new sections I promised way back in February, but I am making slow progress — like I said in a February update here, though, work comes before pleasure.

I'm up so late tonight because — guess what? — the pile of shit I call my truck is back in a shop again. This time, it appears that the alternator has gone on the fritz; my voltage gauge is reading way higher than it should, and fluctuating rapidly — signs that the voltage regulator, which is essentially a "cut-off" inside the alternator that prevents it from charging above 14 volts, has quit. The whole alternator has to go if that's the case, but that's not usually a long or expensive fix.

Finally, props to my hometown Detroit Pistons, the 2004 NBA champions.