Well, I finally got the truck fixed. I had a lot of trouble finding a time when I could actually take the thing in, so I had a lot of time when I was just unable to bring the truck in. Anyway, after about 31 hours (mostly waiting for parts), they got it fixed. It was a bad rotor and distributer. I also had them replace the spark plugs and their wires as well (since they were pretty much due anyway). All in all, it costs about $500.
I also got my offer from Microsoft. Basically, $4800 a month. They told me that it was essentially $30/hour, but when I did some math: 4800*12/52/40 = 27.69/hour. Interesting, since LANL would pay 27.40/hour. Now MS includes paid holidays, a health club membership, software and hardware discounts, relocation costs, and subsidized housing. LANL includes none of those, and still they wonder why they can’t get good students (to quote the old director about 5 years ago).
I am greatly leaning towards staying here this summer, and trying to make progress on my research, but I am thinking this could be a good start for something next year. Then, I will have to make sure I look at other companies, so that I can get them to compete with each other.