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Archive for March, 2007

Flying Pink Unicorns – budgeting and envelopes oh my!

March 26th, 2007 3 comments

First, to help set the stage for why I think doing this Financial Peace thing, read this day-by-day strip, g’head, I’ll wait.

back?  good.

I don’t want to know how much of our money each month goes to interest.  Not just mortgage interest, but credit card interest.  My lord, I think we could probably fund all of our children’s college through that Harvard Master’s they’re all gonna want if we just sunk what we pay in interest each month in the mattress.  Simply because we went pure and simple daffy crazy in 2005.  Sure we had a family vacation to end all family vacations, but we also refinanced/consolidated our credit card debt, then went and doubled if not trebled the credit debt we had.  *shakes head*

Seriously, our behavior reminds me of the movie Tin Cup, when in the final day of the US Open, tied, and needing a birdie to possible win, a safe par will force a playoff, Roy McAvoy goes for the green on a long par 4.  He hits it, only to have his ball roll back into the water hazard.  (we hit it, we had a plan to be credit card debt free like right then, but then rolled into some ‘necessities’)  He then proceeds to whale away at the pin from 300+ yards, when a drop and a pitch would have still put him in the playoff.  While he descends into pure selfish madness, threatening even his qualification for the following years tournament, the announcer says, “Someone tackle that guy!”

srsly.

There are a couple of slides in the FPU videos that bring this home, one is how much you’d accrue in wealth if you socked anything away at 18% interest.  I took the bait and admitted that saving anything at 18% interest is pretty much impossible to sustain, unless you invest in some pretty risky ventures and end up guessing right, and impossible to sustain for the long term.  Except that, as Dave Ramsey explained, that is pretty much the investment that banks make all the time, though they aren’t investing in a company, but in their own marketing of credit card debt to the public.  Think of how much interest you pay on your lowest interest card.  Then look at your savings, and consider if you had done the whole ‘save first, pay cash’ thing, how much larger that savings line could be.

So while we have made our zero based budget, and allotted for a $1000 emergency fund, and giving again (something we haven’t done during our descent into madness) to our church.  The line I’d like to keep track of, is what our monthly outlay to the interest line is, and watch that value decrease to zero over the next 2-3 years.  That should help us keep on track, I think, I hope.

Lost – Theories and such…

March 22nd, 2007 4 comments

yah.. i know, I’m teh suck. No recap again, and I still missed last week. So instead of recapping .. (you know where to go for that) I’ll do some theorizing commentaritizing stuff.

First off, the rest of this assumes that you are at least caught up through ‘Man from Tallahasse’, if not, stop go away and come back when you have been properly initiated. I’m not pausing of stuffing this in the more section. Deal.

Points:

Ben plays Locke like a big bass drum. Seriously, all Ben needs to keep a lock (heh) on his power is to tell Locke to do things, and Locke will end up talking himself into it. Think back, Ben is the one that put the seeds of doubt in Locke regarding pushing the button that exploded the hatch. Put his distrust of computers and all things Dharma, that made him discover and destroy the Flame station, reserving a chunk of C4 for any other opportunity to blow things up. Then when he finds Ben, Ben convinces him that blowing the sub is not what Ben wants, when it is exactly what Ben wants. Locke striding out of the jungle is as helpful to Ben as Jack falling from the sky. Which leads to…

The Big Magic Box (not the goracle’s lock box, or so we hope). This is where the island seemingly gives people what they most desire, kinda like Jack Sparrow’s compass. And it is fairly reliable, and a recurring theme that explains many of the manifestations. Locke walks again because he wants it. A bear appears because Walt imagines it. Jack’s dad plays the white rabbit, because Jack is mourning. Kate is reminicing and a horse appears. Eko feels guilt about his brother, and he appears. Yadda Yadda, but it along with seemingly miraculous things appearing, there is also a long string of coincidences that bring this magic box to fruition. Ending up with the revelation that Locke’s dad is on the island, and in Ben’s custody. Is he the ‘Man from Tallahasse?

Speaking of Dads, doesn’t just about EVERYONE on the plane have Daddy Issues? Jack does, Locke does, Charlie does, Claire does, Kate does, Sun does, Jin does (though his Dad doesn’t seem as bad as the others, he just a lowly fisherman, which Jin doesn’t want to inherit, but kinda wishes he does now). Obviously Walt did, and Michael is on the reverse side. Just once I’d like to see a dysfunctional mother, just for a tad bit of fairness.

My theory on Pappa Locke getting to the island is that he is somehow wrapped up with Julia’s appearance on the island, and will be related to Richard (the guy that convinced her to come) along with Ethan. Also there will be some twist to involve the other Tallahasseans Sawyer and Kate into the six degreeness that is another recurring theme. (speaking of 6 degrees it returns Friday… I see nothing about The Nin3… sorry deboobily.)

Also my working theory on Paulo/Nikki is they are so going to be exposed as others, and the Paulo/Nikki backstory ep (Expose – there is supposed to be a swirly thingy on the last e) comes next week. The producers were pumping up the intrigue on this one in there weekly podcast, so that butresses my theory that this will be in island centric backstory, that will reveal how NP infiltrated the group, and the beachies are totally screwed.

Thinking forward, for my local peeps, last night I didn’t get to watch this til like Midnight, because of the AI party at my house (buh bye Stephanie, we hardly knew ya. Sanjay, we wish we never knew you) I’m thinking it would be fun to plot out a season ending Lost party, any interest?

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Flying Pink Unicorns

March 20th, 2007 Comments off

Urm.. no sorry, that is Floating Point Unit.

Nope – Still wrong.

We are starting Financial Peace University at our church.  And so I’ve added a category of ‘Green Stuff’ to the list, so you can cure your insomnia reading about silly little financial advice.  We’re going into the class with a bit of momentum, in that we paid off our van last month with the bulk of my 4Q bonus.   That is a $425/month bill that goes into our cash budget, which isn’t much of a budget.  Now that were are at least treading water without taking a drink every few weeks, its time to also get serious on the rest of the debt load we carry.

This class is a step, and not THE ANSWER but more tools for our tool book, and a chance to continue the momentum and keep financial planning near the front of our minds.   SO more to come, and probably some belly rumblings as I ‘kick at the goads’ a bit, and realize that the path to being rid of debt is the right path for me, and my family.

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Time she keeps on marching…

March 20th, 2007 4 comments

As my children grow older, we are starting to see some of the fruits of whatever parenting wisdom we’ve somehow induced into our children.  This past weekend had a few moments where I felt awful proud of my kids and how they have grown and molded.  The four year old still has some rough patches that need to be ground out, but hey, he’s four.

This Friday/Saturday was Momma-goes-retreating weekend so I had the first half to myself.  I took the opportunity to abandon them.  Well not abandon them per se, but allow them to co-habitate for a while with another large group of kids while me and fellow bachelor for the night went and saw 300.  The payoff was that all 9 children/teens still had all their limbs attached when we got back a scant 2 hours later.  No bruises, or cuts.  There was a sliver that had to be excised, but some ice, a needle and a pair of tweezers made quick work of that.

Post movie madness, I took my brood of four to Wally World to shop for a present for the forty-fourth Pirate themed party of the year that Danny would attend in the morning.  While it was kinda dicey taking the somewhat tired four year old shopping at 9:30 PM, I was proud of my older boy taking said brother under his wing and helping him along.  In and out in 30 minutes wasn’t too hair pullingly bad.

Then morning drive to the pirate bay (20 minutes away) to attend the party, and having even the 12 year old join in the festivity with gusto (she brought her own pirate garb, and they all have their assigned pirate names, gratis multiple talk-like-a-pirate linkages).  I stole away with the non-invitees during the lunch/present/cake phase, to feed them from the TriplePlay KFC-Pizza Hut-Taco Bell mashup, and then got myself some life preserving Starbucks for the second half of the day.  They all played well, and again no puncture wounds or bruised pride.

Sunday after church was the biggest challenge, and the biggest pay off.  Four families from church decided to go to lunch together.  A table for 19 is a bit dicey at 12 PM in these parts, but we accepted a table for 6 and a table for 13 in the outer rim of the On The Boarded establishment.  On this occasion the table of six was actually the ‘kids table’ for the non-toddler set, and all four of my kids sat, actually. sat. at that table and set a good example for their younger compatriots.  Truth be told, they probably acted more polite than us brutes at the big boys table.  But somehow through the 2 hour ordeal they survived without any bruised eyes or egos.

So Huzzah, this whole parenting thing is reaching the payoff stage.  Now I need to find my rifle to clean and sword to polish for when the young men start stopping by to woo my gels.  They won’t be chased away, but they might swallow a bit hard.

UPDATE: Extra bonus footage of eldest gel performing at the 6th grade choir performance over at Sweet Bippy.

Categories: Learning, Life Tags: ,

Wednesday Night TV

March 15th, 2007 1 comment

I’ll have my LOST recap up later, busy with real life work work work.

But last night’s Jericho wasn’t half bad, at least had a twist in it… But I’m losing interest in the show.

America kicked Brandon off Idol, so we have at least one more week of Sanjizzle to snark about.  VFTW is crowing and denying that Sanjizzle was in the bottom two.  Dial Idol had Brandon in the bottom three, so they can crow that they were right as well. 

Categories: /dev/null Tags:

Idol Predictions – The 12

March 14th, 2007 1 comment

My personal pick is Sanjizzle, but since its early, and VFTW love can help push him further and the sweet sweet love of his incredible moldable hair will have sheeple calling for hours just wanting to see what type of floomable wonder will appear next week, he’s probably safe.  Unfortunately the first week on the big stage had many stalwarts fall into the ‘meh’ category so there are a lot of forgettable performances.  Haley crying her eyes out may get her a sympathy vote, that and the potential for a future wardrobe malfunction may keep her safe.  Sligh may have made a big oopsie in re-arranging and old standard, a brave move, that may prove his undoing.  This was the week to try something weird like that, because their were  A LOT of marginal singing, but hacking up Endless Love… hmm.  Who’s gonna go?  I think it will be a boy, and either Brandon or Phil, though I wouldn’t be surprised if a shocker puts Sligh on the slide home.

Now, looking at Dial Idol, they have Melissa and Kiki as safe, along with Sanjizzle.  Putting everyone else in the ‘unsafe’ category, due to the huge Margin of Error.   The MOE has Brandon and Jordin as possible for third place, which puts the other seven in the ‘Danger Will Robinson’ category.  Using that data, I still think Phil is in danger, because no one like being yelled at.  For our top two heroines, a early Stephanie exit might be a good thing, and since she is in the same demo as Mel and Kiki, she might not get the votes to continue.  But really this thing in up in the air, which may prove to be a ‘shocker’ this week.

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Idol on Tuesday – Top 12

March 13th, 2007 1 comment

Most Tuesday’s I’m very idle, so why not just list my rankings, no commentary

  1. Lakesia – Kiki
  2. Melinda
  3. Blake
  4. Jordin
  5. Gina
  6. Phil
  7. Chris S.
  8. Brandon
  9. Stephanie
  10. Haley
  11. Chris R.
  12. Sanjaya

I may have ranked Sanjaya too high.

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Lost – Enter 77

March 8th, 2007 Comments off

I’m not going to do a detailed recap, there are lots of other places that recap better than I, and my time and brain power is a bit limited today.

Back to a single Island LOST and things are going back to their normal ways, keeping track of the beachies, and following the action of one of the exploring adventurers.  We’ve lost track of Jack, but that is okay, keep him off the screen a bit, let Fox have a mini-vacation, he’s earned it, just stay away from Thailand, Jack, m’kay?

The Beachies had a good time taking away Sawyer’s stuff, who would have made a terrible king of the flies anyways.  Best line from Sawyer is a time between asking Paulo, “who the hell are you?” and dubbing Sun and Jin – crouching tiger and hidden dragon.  It will be hard to not have the sawyerisms for a few episodes, but my lawd we’ve gotten blitzed by them the last few episodes haven’t we?

Locke, Kate, Sayid and Danielle find the Flame station, and are confronted with the apparent ‘last Dharmie’, which turned out to be bull.  Sayid does a great job of actually, you know, asking questions and getting answers, and for a while it was confirmation city of a bunch of plot points (other rebellion, some sort of submarine, dharma as a project on the island is dead, &tc).  Surprisingly, Sayid sees through the subterfuge and we are left wondering, what if anything Mikhail Bakunin said was true.  Another Dharma computer gets fried, because of the long standing Lost tradition of the main characters refusing to share the tactical situation with others, perhaps an over the shoulder comment of, “Yo! John, lots of C4 is rimming this place, don’t press any buttons, m’kay pal?”  Instead we see the Locke is trying out for the role of the last living Dharma Initiative and does the bidding of the computer, and boom goes the Flame hatch (mixed blessing, we don’t have to endure a season of hatch sitting like last season, but we don’t get to dig into all the juicy Dharma manuals in the basement either.)

Good episode, pace is picking up, and Lost will pick up more viewers as other shows go into mini-haituses, so long as Fox keeps shifting the post-Idol love around hopefully LOST will inch back up in the ratings.

Categories: /dev/null Tags:

Thursday Wednesday non-lost TV

March 8th, 2007 Comments off

Lost post is coming, but lets get the preliminaries out of the way.

Jericho – Hawkins escaped being double crossed, Jake had a truck fall on him and lived (is it just me, or couldn’t someone use that big old truck bed as a lever, and have gotten Jake out sooner?) Ma and Pa get juiced then save our heroes. *yawn* *snork* wha? Yeah, Jericho, you could have been great.

American Idol – The girls are simply in another league. Melinda and Lakisha are from another planet. The boys sang to a virtual tie on DialIdol, the bad news is the Sligh and Sanjaya are both in danger of staying and or leaving. My votes for who goes, Sundance and Sanjaya. Though Phil was pretty darn bad on Tuesday. My pick for the girls leaving Antonella and Haley (I think that is her name), though Antonella may have one more week in her, due to the VFTW effect, and Sabrina may go home, I hope they don’t send Gina home, she at least will bring something different each week, instead of the big three diva-ing it up each week.

Update: called two of the four for leaving, but mentioned all 6 of the bottom 6, so kudos to me. Lets all NOT vote for Sanjaya next week, m’kay?

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