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Archive for April, 2006

Lawn Mowers and High Gas Prices

April 25th, 2006 at 04:46 pm

Since gas is so expensive, I am going to cut my lawn with, ummm, I don't have a sickle...or a machete. I can use a hockey stick!! Yeah, I can slap shot the tall grass all over the yard, it would be a good work out, and I save money by not firing up the lawn mower. The weed whacker is electric, but what fun is that. Landscaping isn't land scaping unless there are hockey sticks, a helmet, or those big pruning shears involved.

The neighbors need to look out their window, see me smashing the shizzle out of my yard with my number 66 Mario Lemieux stick and say well at least it is not as bad as last year when he...and then stop talking to themselves to avoid being as crazy as I am. This of course is all fun and games until I run down the cliff in my back yard and start hacking the weeds down while yelling 'he shoots;he SCORES!!' every few minutes. This makes me wonder why I haven't heard of an increase of cases of siphoning. Back in the day, kids used to siphon gas out of their neighbors cars because they couldn't pony up a buck or two to get the fuel to take them to the drive-in with a trunk full of their friends. Now that buck or two would be lucky if it bought enough gas to get you to the next gas station to buy more. Can it be true that people have not resorted to stealing gas, or is it just that the news broadcasts spend all of their time on stories about what name Brad and Angelina whould give their baby?

New job costs more money

April 20th, 2006 at 01:53 pm

So I moved over to one of the level 2 support teams from the helpdesk positon, and so far it costs me money. It is more than twice as far of a drive and with gas prices back around $3 that costs a lot more than the managers, and their high salaries consider. I still pack my lunch and still drink water from the fountain, but gas prices themselves are almost enough to push me over budget for the month. Their will supposedly be the opportunity of a raise when this is said and done, and I really hope that happens.

The main reason that I took the new position was acctually job security. After training the newest members of the helpdesk who work remotely in India, it became obvious to me that once they are phased in their numbers will increase, while those on the helpdesk sitting in America will decrease. They do have remote users on the team that I am on, but it is pretty hard to remotely change a defective hard drive on a server, and the level 2 team sits at the customer site, so when they want someone set up on the network or someone's permissions changed, they would rather walk to my desk to call someone no matter how close that person may be. Being on site, although they are still supposed to call the requests in to the helpdesk gives me more confidance that my job will still be there in the long run. A raise would be a welcome bonus as well.

Little things make a big difference

April 15th, 2006 at 04:06 am

I was thinking about little things that can really affect the monthly budget, and I came up with a few to watch out for. Beverages: the more popular or healthier it is, the more expensive it probably is, too. if you drink sports drinks, get a giant vat of gatorade from BJs and mix it yourself. If you drink water, buy a filtered pitcher and a thermos and take your own instead of spending the money on it from the vending machine or cafe...it's only water...

Snacks: try the same BJs trick of getting a big box of treats instead of buying one bag of chips each day from the machine or snack bar. Or better yet, get a bunch of bananas.

Parking: see if you can find a cheaper lot or deck that is maybe a few blocks away and walk the rest of the way. My parking is free, but not everyone's is.

Entertainment: get a library card. As long as you do not keep the books past the due date, free books beat netflix monthly fee or blockbuster, and most libraries offer movies if you absolutely have no imagination or can not read...
(I have to admit that I like movies a lot, but my brother is a platinum card carrying member of the Columbia House DVD club, so I just borrow from him.)

Food: is important because it is proably second only to your mortgage in monthly expense, unless you overbought your vehicle or already eat on the cheap, but cut the food down. I mean literally cut the food, like water it down. Let me give you an example, I love tacos, so I prefer to have them often. By adding a can of tomatoes and a can of refried beans, I can make double the tacos without doubling the amount of meat required. This leaves leftovers for my lunch, and sometimes more without making the cost of the dinner go up much. We have rice and pasta a lot and use a variety of cheap sauces to flavor them frugally.

Free Money that no one wants

April 15th, 2006 at 03:24 am

I have ranted before about how everyone is looking for the catch, but this is getting rediculous. I joined an online poker forum and they are starting a weekly free tournament with $100 in prize money. The top 15 places get paid and it costs nothing to enter. You simply need to sign up for the poker site through their link and join the forum yourself. They sent me a password to enter the tournament and I am registered.

Now the bad news unless 15 people register, the event is cancelled, so I am thinking that is no problem, I can get a few people to sign up and so can the rest of the forum members, right? Then I ran into the usual 'what's the catch?' answers. I had a few friends say 'that sounds cool, but I suck at poker.' If 15 people enter, everyone who plays will get $2.50 with the chance at up to $25 for 1st place. I say this I get more interest but then I get more wierd responses as well.

'poker isn't my game...' like he missed the part about most likely everyone or nearly everyone getting paid and that this will be a weekly thing. 'What if I win, can I cash out?' I tell them that they need to make an initial deposit of $20 but then yes they can cash out. 'See that is how they sucker you in.' was the response. So then I tell them about this other deal where they can play at a different site for free. They give you $75 to play, and another $25 after you meet play requirements with their money. Now you have this money that you can move over to the site that you have won a few bucks from these tournaments,you keep entering them every week, and it costs you nothing.

I got my favorite of all responses after I explain this one. A guy I work with said, 'Now if you laid $75 on my desk I would sign up, but I have to PLAY to get it.' Really he has to play a game to get free money and that is asking too much, so I figured out what the catch is...everyone wants free money and freebies, but they want it immediately with zero time or effert invested. I wonder how many people see Kimmie's freebies and say ohhhh that is nice, but I have to fill out that form...no thanks. I can not believe the trouble that I am having in giving away a seat in a free tournament that will repeat weekly. I even picked out the friends that I know are surfing the web and would already be at their PC at the time the event took place. Sorry to say, I can point you to the offer at

Text is www.thepokerpirates.com/freerolls.html and Link is
www.thepokerpirates.com/freerolls.html, but I can not lay $75 on your desk.

Electronic gadget envy

April 7th, 2006 at 04:32 pm

I moved from remote support technician to level 2 support on the server team, and let me tell you, these guys all have way to many electronic toys on their hips. I rarely even carry the cell phone; if I have it then my wife does not, as we only have 1. No pager, no PDA, and no MP3 player for me.

The rest of my team all have so many doodads on them that their belts make Batman Jealous. They talk about them constantly too. 'Well my KP46 has wireless technology, so I can send files to my PC.' I ask if they can use their cell phone, with built in PDA, keyboard, and voice activated recorder, to regulate the temperature of their refrigerators, or activate the coffee pot. One guy's phone cost as much as my home computer cost me to build, and I am considered a computer geek, so you know my PC is respectable.

I can buy a laptop for the cost of their electronic devices, but I have more important things to spend my money on, like peanut butter sandwiches. That takes us to the next point, lunch. They go out to eat at buffets that cost $10 a person. My breakfasts and lunches for the week total $10 and that is only if I decide not to drink water and take a coke a few days that week.

I like when they compare functions of their high tech equipment. That always reminds me of the old over compensating theory. My first day on the job, we takes a few carts down to a lab and pillage a bunch of nice monitors. They are all making dibs on a few of the huge 24 inch deals, when I said 'that is ok, all you guys who need a big monitor to make you feel better about other inadequacies in your manliness can have those, I will take this nice little 19 and remain secure.' They laughed so I think I am going to like working with them.

April fools

April 3rd, 2006 at 07:21 pm

April Fool's Day is always fun. I recall getting my Dad with some good clean hunor a time or two. but the best is when you can get multiple people with something that is 100% as far from expected as possible. Like maybe if you can convince the entire school that April 1 was an unannounced teacher's in service day, or the entire cheerleading squad that you are the man. Ok but something really great would be convincing an entire forum of people who share your interests that you just went agains those interests and sold out hardcore.

For Example, for the Britney Spear's fanclub president to write in her blog that she is now leaving to be the president of the Christina Aguilera fanclub. Or for an adolescent male to tell his fans that Angelina Jolie is ugly and have them buy it. Oh, I know maybe it would be like a pair of guys running a savings forum to post about selling their forum AND signing the no compete clause in a deal with a loan company for a few thousand less than what was offered by a non-profit group of investors. *shock*

I mean how many of their faithful readers would actually read such a post on April 1 and not get it right away. It is not like someone would reread that part about choosing the absolute WORST entity to sell to over the BEST choice for a mere few thousand dollars. For the record that is the part that made me think and remember the date and smile. I thought, sold out for a few grand...wait a second if we are talking about selling for an amount where a few grand would be that much of a difference I would hope they are making enough from all the other COMPETING sites to turn down the deal, and if the deal were for a lot of money, then a few grand would not be worth selling to the wrong end of the spectrum of the two potential buyers. But who else though of that?

Jeffrey, that was a classic.