The good news: the mechanic took care of many little noises. In fact, he took care of a noise that would have cost me $4,000 to fix at the dealership. My percalator noise wasn't from the engine, but from the front axel. He replaced that for another $100 and the noise is gone. He also stopped the rattle at 2200 rpm. Whohoo. (At least, I'm hoping that he fixed these. More driving will reveal all.)
In summary, since July:
July - Brakes and Rotors
August - Nothing?
September - Water Heater, new Alternator
October - New clutch
Meanwhile, I figured out my problem with my ATI card. The software updates provided on the web site are updates, not fully installs. In other words, if you just reinstall the lastest software, it won't work. Damned ATI.
My latest game project is "The World of Random Crap." The whole idea of this D20 game environment is to justify using anything. I hope to keep the whole thing short, sweet, and highly abusable. :)