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Friday, February 29, 2008


I seriously doubt that we will ever see this in a very practical way but here's an interesting concept for the environmentally conscious.

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Wanna Leap?

Today is Leap Year Day.

Enjoy this interesting video on the topic-

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Monday, February 25, 2008

I was waiting for it...

And now I have it! I knew that it was only a matter of time.

I know that the guy will probably never win but he also sure never gives up either.

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Solar Mortgages?

That's right- a Solar Mortgage.

I know that you might be asking what that is...I know I was. I was reading about issues pertaining to mortgages at a UK Mortgages website. The particular article that caught my eye was this one.

The article talked about how there is now a special type of mortgage offered for buyers who will use the interest savings to invest into putting a solar power energy system into their house. At first I was taken back by that. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that a lender would actually discount an interest rate but I suppose that there just might be some good guys out there somewhere.

Can you imagine the overall savings to the pocketbook, as well as to the environment, to be able to fully power your house on solar energy and receive an interest rate discount? In my world that would be having my cake and eating it too. If the house was able to take the solar energy and convert it to electricity then that would pretty well eliminate the need for natural gas heat and cooking. And since you wouldn't be dependent on another source for power can you imaging what it would be like to not be threatened by the same power outages that others might be weary of?

Personally, I think that this is a great idea that I would love to see catch on here in the US but we'll just have to see if it ever does. What a way to radically help improve the environment!

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

123 Book Meme

This is an idea that I was tagged with by the Llama Herder. It is simple- A meme is an idea and/or a topic. Or something. Google it or something if you don’t get it. Here’s the gist of it.

(1) Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating! (2) Turn to page 123. (3) Find the first 5 sentences. (4) Post the next 3 sentences. (5) Tag 5 people.

"He simply said, I'm Bennet, and exhibited his voltmeter. It didn't work. Bill got that puzzled look on his face and asked, Could you tell me where I know you from?"

This is from the book Good Benito by Alan Lightman. The book's description is:

Bennet "Benito" is a yound scientist who seeks solace in the precise and irrefutable laws of physics, only to find that he cannot escape his own humanity. But he is about to discover love, betrayal, and a whole spectrum of mortal phenomena. Soon he will be forced to face the unpredictable, everyday reality he evades- and to learn from it.

It is a really good book but you have to get used to the author's lack of punctuation when quoting people. Once you can get passed that and used to the format it is a really quick and enjoyable read.

I now tag Jason and Spoon.

Sorry Ryan, my blog world is even more ingrown than yours is...

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Avoid Bankruptcy

I am often comforted when I find out that I am in some kind of trouble and I'm not the only one. I mean, no one that I know of really likes to be in trouble but it just seems easier to go through it with others or with the knowledge that you're not alone. So let's talk about debt for a minute.

When I was out of college and didn't have a job I still wanted to buy stuff, so what did I do? I got a credit card. Probably not a smart move at the time but technically I didn't know any better. What was worse is that even after I had come up close to my limit the credit card company allowed me to book a round-trip flight that then pushed me over the edge. Now I had not only the original debt that I could only make minimum payments on, but I also just added overage charges and late fees.

I carried this debt, student loans and a car payment into my marriage. When we were first married though we were more concerned about living happily and enjoying the money that we were making rather than getting clear of our debt. All of that changed when we finally woke up and realized that if we wanted to be able to enjoy more of our money that we should pay off the debts first. Then no one would be able to have any further claim to what should be ours. Several years later we are now almost completely debt free. It has taken a lot of hard work and discipline but we're almost there.

Many people in today's economy are facing potential bankruptcy. Part of it has to do with the fact that today's wage just doesn't go as far as it did many years ago. The other part of it has to do with the fact that many consumers today are flat out paying too much money that they don't have for things that they do not need. Does that make them bad people? No. It simply means that they've gotten in too deep for whatever the reasons are. They need a lesson in debt management and how to recover from it.

For those who have trouble doing it on their own let me suggest working an IVA. This is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors to help reduce your debt, freeze your interest and allow you to pay off the debt more quickly so that you can get back on your feet.

My wife and I have been fortunate enough to be able to work this out on our own but if you need assistance then don't wait until it's too late. Debt can be hard but bankruptcy has bigger black eyes waiting that you might realize.

Don't wait. Do something today.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Can You Spare Some Change?

Today I had to eat some humble pie, but don't tell my wife.

We decided to take a trip. As part of the trip we took a short ride down an exit ramp off of the Interstate to get into the town that we marked as our destination. At the end of the ramp've all seen them....someone standing there with a sign that said something to the effect of "Homeless and Hungry."

I always hate the see people like this it makes several thoughts go through my head- 1.) Where did they manage to get the materials needed to make the sign? 2.) Why do they always position themselves in places that invoke the guilt of whoever purposely ignores them as they sit in their cars. 3.) Why, if you decide to help them, are you forced to make such a short notice decision? 4.) Isn't there something better that could be done about this?

What made this even worse is that we were on our way to a restaurant to meet some friends for lunch. How does that not drive a nail into the coffin of your excuse factory?

My wife felt compelled to do something to try and help the situation but I was driving. My rational was admittedly bi-polar. I was faced with the fact that on the one hand I am all about being as charitable as possible when the opportunity arises and makes the most sense. On the other hand though, I have a very hard time just handing out money to someone that looks like they need it. To me it is always so much more practical to help someone by doing something for them or assisting them in helping themselves rather than just throw money at the issue. So that was my rational; we were not in a position to help in a way that seemed to make the biggest difference so I would rather keep the money.

My wife, however, still felt compelled to do something. I won't call her expression of thoughts at this point "nagging" but she was definitely intent on making sure that I understood what her desire was for the person hanging out with their sign at the bottom of the off ramp. I also then started to get more upset with her the longer she talked about it because I felt like I would either finally be guilted into doing what I didn't want to do....or end up being the bad guy for putting my foot down and saying that my decision to not help out was final. But again, the conflict in my logic was raging and I started to feel like the ass.

I finally decided to [grudgingly] drive back down to the nearest spot possible for parking so that I could go do my "good deed" for the day. By this time my wife had already pulled an envelope of cash out of thin air that we could use to accomplish the task.

I drove down the street, parked the van and then began to head on foot through the snow....across the entrance ramp.....through some more snow and mud on the side of the road that went under the overpass....and finally made my way up to what was now 2 people at the end of the off ramp.

What am I doing? What does this look like? What will others think I am out here doing? Is there anyone living under this bridge? What if these people are cons? What are my chances of getting run over or somehow killed as part of this? I hope my wife is happy? I hope my kids understand what I am doing? What do these people look like? What will they think of me?

As I approached, the original person that I saw standing there continued to hold his sign but the second person who was sitting there on some bags noticed me coming and they stood up and joined the other one. I then got close enough to notice that it was a woman there with the man. She noticed and acknowledged me by saying hello. Now there was no turning back.

Why am I doing this? Isn't there any other way to get them help? Is this the only thing that I can do?
And then with a blink it hit me.

This is what I can do; at least today and right now with these folks. I don't have any other options but am I willing to do at least this much? What if they don't get anything else today? I may be the only charity that they see all weekend, do I want to be responsible for ignoring a need like this? Does their situation really need to matter to me as much as their immediate need?

I gave them the money and talked with them for a minute before heading back to the van.

I wanted to say something snide to my wife earlier about her idea of giving them money being so "Democrat-like" if just throwing money at a problem was going to help it....but I realized on my walk back that it would have been a foolish statement. This wasn't political it was personal. These were people.

I don't write this to put any spotlight on me or my family and what we did....but rather just to stop and ponder what our motives and intentions are behind what we either pursue or ignore. I can't tell anyone who is reading this what is right or wrong about their decisions, I can only say that my original intent was wrong today and now I stand corrected; and because of that I am not sure whether I did them a favour.....

Maybe those two homeless people did the favour for me.

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Web Hosting Choices

Are you looking for a host for your website and just don't know how to pick the right one? Many people people, like myself, would like to get a website started with their own domain name but have no idea where to start. There are so many providers out there that offer so many does one decide?

Visit web hosting choice to find out all about it. On their page you will find all kinds of information on what is involved in the process of getting your own website, a quick-starter guide and a very helpful web hosting FAQ page. There is even a page dedicated to helping you chose your web host based on certain criteria that you specify based on the services and pricing that matter most to you.

Check them out today and finally get your website off the ground!

Disclosure Policy

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where is it going?

I have no idea where the time is going but I have to admit that it is getting a little bit discouraging. I am often reminded that my kids are getting bigger and older right in front of my eyes.

Just tonight at the dinner table I was thinking about how quickly everything is going by. Right after that thought I then also remembered that we are now 20 days into February. In my mind that means that winter's days are now numbered and spring is just around the corner.

I guess that the average temperature for this time of year in my neck of the woods should be in the 30's but today the high was a whopping 0. Days like today are just hard to get motivated to leave the house. But have no fear- tomorrow the high is supposed to be somewhere from the mid teens to the low 20's. I just want to be able to get out and do something outside of the house with the wife and kids.

Sorry, but I guess this is just one of my random droning posts. Comments and reprimands are always welcome.

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Making Money Online

I have not spent the time lately that I really need to blogging and getting the word out either about my own thoughts or the products and services that are out there being offered. I have recently been reminded of how I need to get back into the swing of things in this area.

In addition to my regular pounding out of ideas there is another service that can be very beneficial to the viewers of this blog...and you can also make it work for you. The service is called Pay Per Post. You can actually get paid for using your blog to place ads for people offering their goods and services.

As people read your regular blog they can also have the opportunity to see an advertisement or two that may appeal to something that they are looking for. The benefit of this is that not only can they be one step closer to having a need met but you can also make a few bucks by offering the referral.

This is a nice option to have if you find yourself a little tight on money these days, especially with our economy the way it is. With the extra money here and there that I take in with Pay Per Post ads I can have a little more cash on hand to be able to treat my family to something nice once in a while.

You can read more about it at blog ads

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Grammys

I know that it has now been about a week since the airing of the Grammy Award presentations but I am not just getting around to pounding out my thoughts about this.

This year marked the 50th Anniversary of the program. 50 years is nothing to sneeze at and typically I enjoy watching the show but this year just seemed to suck. I realize that with this being the landmark anniversary that they wanted to try and cover a good share of things that have been done in the past as a form of nostalgia but this year was just a bit off the keel.

For the most part I felt that the musical representation during the show was hardly a fair representation of the market. There were 3 or 4 R &B performances, 1 Rock, 1 Country, 1 Classical Piano...and Tina Turner. Given the fact that the music industry is so much more diverse than any of us could really know, it just seemed like such a crappy fraction that they gave to us to watch.

I also understand that this show is all about marketing. I understand that a large majority of the viewing audience probably has been sucked into thinking that Beyonce, Kanye West and Alicia Keys are the only legitimate voices on the airways. COME ON THOUGH!!!!! I think that it's sad when late night talk show host seem to poke fun at the idea of someone like Herbie Hancock actually winning the Album Of The Year award. Jazz has it's place an apparently not many sheeple can recognize that.

It was also quite a phenomenon to see Tina Turner up there on stage still trying to shake her money maker. I'm sorry but I felt like I wanted some sort of a rebate or something after watching that. It is only getting increasingly irritating for music and television personalities continually trying to re-invent themselves. How can they continually ride on the heels of their previous fame?

The biggest quagmire of the evening was, of course, Amy Winehouse. She was able to work a deal to perform from London instead of having to come to the States because of her current stint in rehab. How to people like her even get into the industry to begin with? Sure, I think that some of her music is fun to listen to. It has a retro sort of sound, but from a marketing point of view how can a record company invest in such a liability as her?

And I was most amused by the fact that she was able to perform on both the level of her music and the level of looking shocked after winning her award. Is it so shocking that she would win after being in the media so much? And what also about the question that I have concerning celebrities with cooky personalities? They seem to be able to perform really well and have it all together but then whenever they have to speak to the public in any sort of way they just sound socially defunct. Amy Winehouse is the current subject at hand but others like Harrison Ford and Russell Crowe also come to mind.

Anyways, now that the 50th anniversary is over with I hope to see things get a little more back to normal next year.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's The End Of The World As We Know It