Tuesday, April 26, 2016

TWTW April 18th through 24th.. DUCK FIGHT!!!!

Duck Fight

I was out for a walk on Saturday. A duck couple zooms in overhead and lands in a swampy field next to the path. Awwww ducks in love. They are going to make cute little baby ducks. About a minute later I look over and the boy duck is waddling across the field as fast as his webbed feet can take him. "Dude you are abandoning your lady." That's when I see what is going one. WILD CHALLENGER APPEARS. Another boy duck's head pops out of some bushes and he starts waddling as fast as he can toward his foe. I stop walking to watch. This is going to be food, a duck fight. When the reach each other, they both turn to the girl duck and take off in a race. I am laughing my head off at these two ducks waddling as fast as they can across a field. The challenger takes a slight lead but then stumbles and falls behind. When they get to the girl duck she's like "Guys Guys!!!"  and takes off into the air. The two boys take off after her and the do a couple lap race above my head with the original suitor winning the race.  The loser peals away and goes to land back and alone near the bushes and the happy couple land right back in the field were this all started.  As I walked away I yelled out, "Don't feel bad there are plenty of ducks in the sea." (Yes I did actually yell that.)  

The next day I went for a jog and ran by the same field.  I a couple of ducks in the same place. I couldn't tell if they were the same ones.  I scan the bushes and see a duck head peering out at the happy couple.  That duck needs to let her go.

Funny Gif o' the week

I like the complete resignation on his face at the end.. What have I done to myself???

Funny Video o' the week


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

TWTW April 11th through the 17th: Spring has come

I am going back beyond the confines of TWTW. I apologize. I also am a going to talk about oe of the most boring subjects weather. I apologize. Let us go back to my birthday. It was just above freezing with a driving freezing rain that lasted most of the day. We had freeze warning through Tuesday. I still was wearing a sweat shirt at home on Wednesday. Sunday the 17th the temp hit over 80 degrees and I spent the day in shorts.  Jobu achieved flat Jobu. Jobu is a cold weather kitteh. He is made for snow and cold. He has a lot of fur. So anytime it gets near 80 we achieve flat Jobu. He lays out as flat as he can to dissipate the heat. He doesn't do a whole lot on flat Jobu days.

I have been doing some extra work that I am payed for by the hour. In my regular day to day job I goof off a lot while at work. A lot of time is spent reading web pages and gadding with coworkers. When I am doing the extra hourly work I use a stop watch. I don't stop it for everything, like getting a drink of water. But most times when I stop working I stop the watch. I have realized I get distracted a whole lot when I am trying to work.

Really Long video of the week:

Watch a computer animation of the sinking of the Titanic in real time. Yes it is over 2 1/2 hours.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Review: Dreams in the Void by Jeffrey Aaron Miller

Dreams in the VoidDreams in the Void by Jeffrey Aaron Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jaren lives in an almost idyllic medieval village on an island nation. Then his world turns upside down. A form of sickness is spreading throughout the land. People are being driven mad by a nightly “water” dream. These dreams are full of violence and death. Jaren’s village is destroyed by a before unknown magic. Convinced that the King is the source of the dreams. Jaren sets out to the capital to kill the King.
This book is not a traditional fantasy story. It reads more like an adult (Not that type of adult ya dirty minded…) fairy-tale. There is not complex world building. The world feels rich but empty. The only things that exist, exist to further the story. The sense is that the world ends just past the characters view.
Reading this may sound really bad. But it works very well. As the story progresses it feels more and more like a dream, like reality is slipping away. It reads more and more like an actual dream. About half way through the book my brain started coming up with my own theories as to what was happening. My pace of reading accelerated as I tried to figure out the final explanation. Many possibilities present themselves. I don’t want to spoil anything but the final answer was not something I had considered.

View all my reviews

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Happy Birthday to me.. and Jobu

Photo Courtesy of flickr user moyerphotos
Today is my 43rd birthday. I almost forgot to blog about it. The early forties have been very odd for me. On one hand it seems really old. In my twenties I never even imagined what I would feel like at forty. Though I thought my life would be very different. On the other hand it seems really young. I still feel that there are many things left to do in my life and time to do them. My body hasn't completely betrayed me. If I wanted to I could train for a marathon. I see the future as increasing not decreasing opportunities. I just need to have goals and remained focused.

The day was boring and it rained almost all day. Not sure what that means for the coming year :)

Jobu's birthday falls on the same day. Why? Because I said so.  We don't actually know when Jobu was born. He was found at several weeks old. It just seemed easier to give him he same as me.  What did I get him? The same thing I get him every year. Nothing. I let him live for another year and buy him food.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

TWTW: March 28th to April 3rd WORST POST EVER #catpicture #catvideo

It was windy and cold then windy and warm then windy and cold again.  I apologize for this horrible post but will try to make up for it with cats. The internet loves cats.

Funny Cat Gif

Funny Cat Video

Friday, April 01, 2016

How I got My Finances in Order Part 3: Where does your money go?

What is a Budget?

Many people misunderstood the term budget, like they misunderstand the word diet. Your budget is simply all your income and expenses, like your diet is the food and drink  you consume.  Neither are inherently about restriction. All my life I've had a budget.  All those years, as I pilled up debt, I had a budget. I just had no idea what that budget said about me or the way I handled money.

You Don't Know Where your Money Goes

Throughout most of my adult life I have made enough money. Enough money being defined as a roof over my head, food in my belly, and enough to have some left over each month.  If you are like me, you are making  enough money. Despite that my debt kept building. Sometimes slowly, sometimes in leaps and bounds. I'd think vaguely about money. I would calculate that I could spend so much on a car payment, because I made enough money, but it never actually included how much money I actually spent. If I needed a small thing like a pair of shoes I would just whip out a credit card and buy it because I made enough money. 

Finding Out Where Our Money Goes

We need to know were all our money goes, every bit of it. For three months we are going to record every expense.  During this period don't try and change your spending habit. The funny thing is, the mere act of recording what you purchase will change our behavior.  You might be able to construct the last three months if you have comprehensive records of your spending. You credit card site(s) should have everything you've used them on. Your bank will have records of all checks or online bill pay. The only problem would be cash. I want everything. So if you can't account for even a candy bar you will need to do so from here on out. 

I do recommend looking back at your expenses to get a general view of what you are spending. If you are average for the US, probably most of your purchasing is on credit cards.  This will help you deal with the bias that recording your expenses will produce.

Record everything. Make sure you account for every short trip to the grocery store, every candy bar from the gas station. Seriously record everything. Every cash purchase. That coffee you bought with change found in the cup holder on your car needs to be recorded. I said record everything.  Even that five dollars you gave a friend.  

If you don't record everything you will just be lying to yourself and you will make this harder than it needs to be.  You will be like all those people who are on diets but don't record their caramel frappo calorie filled thing because it's a drink and liquids don't have calories. Or those who say that free food at the office doesn't count and then wonder why they don't lose weight. 

There are several things you will need to record about your expenses.  Record the date of the expense, the mode(credit card, cash, check account etc..), the payee, and divide your expenses into various categories.  The categories are important to judging where you spend your money. I divide my expenses into the large number of categories.  For example, I have eating out broken down in to restaurants, fast food, and coffee shops.

The final thing you need to keep track of are long term costs.  These are large costs that occur periodically for which you need to budget. These include known costs such as your car insurance every six or three months. The best way to deal with these expenses is to pro-rate them over every month. Your insurance payment may not fall into the three months you are recording all your expenses so include the per month amount for that. What I am saying is if your insurance payment is 600 every 6 months put 100 dollars into each months expenses. 

You also need to budget for unexpected costs like car repair or medical expenses. It can be hard to estimate what these things can cost but you should put aside money for an emergency fund.


I have tried a few tools to keep track of my budget. For a year I used a notebook and colored markers.  I put a legend across the top of: date, amount, place, amount. I used a different color marker for each category. This made it easier to add everything up at the end of the month. I remember many a time sitting on my living room floor surrounded by all the receipts from the previous month entering everything into the notebook and then adding it up.

There are many available budget spreadsheets. These usually already have all the formulas set up with categories.  These will add up everything and make them work out in the end. I never managed to use one of these for more than a few days. I don't know why but I just never found spreadsheets a sustainable method of budgeting.

YNAB(You Need a Budget) is a very popular budget tool.  It has a fee to use but offers a free month so you can try it out. You put in all your accounts. It connects to you banks and credit cards automatically bringing in that info. It includes a whole system for thinking about money and how to track things. Many people swear by YNAB so I recommend you try it out for at least the free month. I just could not get into it. 

The tool I did find easily understandable, and the tool I use to this day, is mint.com. Mint is a free web service and they have really good apps for tablets and phones. Similar to YNAB you give it access to all your bank and credit accounts. You can even put in your loans such as car loans mortgages etc. Mint does a really good job of keeping track of everything. It produces a bunch of useful reports. You can check on all your debts, see graphs of were all your spending is going, etc.

What I like best is how Mint handles budgeting. Click on the budget tab and look at the bottom and you find a drop down arrow that says "everything else". Every expense will be shown here by category. Mint automatically assigns categories to expenses if it knows them. You can then click the little plus sign next to each expense. This brings up the create budget box. It will auto populate with what Mint thinks is the amount you have used over the last several months.  So set up budgets for all you expenses. Keep clicking on that "everything else" until you have every expense in a budget. Also add long term expenses to the budget, such as insurance payments.  For certain unexpected expenses such as auto repairs you can set up roll over budgets where the amounts add  up.  For example I put twenty dollars every month into the auto repair budget. This gets used for oil changes or unexpected repairs.

Own Your Stupidity

After you have a few months of expenditures cataloged, you need to take really long look at what's there. Gaze upon the amounts you have spent. Look at that massive amount of money you spent on eating out. Behold how much you have wasted at that franchise coffee store. This is what happens when you don't think about money. This is what happens when you are stupid. What I want you to do right here is to own your stupidity. Bath in your idiocy. Open yourself up to how much money you have wasted.  Don't flinch, Don't turn away. This is what you have done because you are stupid person. Feel shame. Shame is good, when you deserve it. You are not going to be that person anymore. In our next installment I am going to explain how I, and hopefully you, can get out of this mess we've made.