Monday, December 24, 2007

Gingerbread Resturant

My families Second Annual Gingerbread house contest between my brother and I will be taking place soon. This year it will be the day after Christmas, and this year he is the one who has to travel with his house.

The theme for this year is "restaurants" and this is also the first year I decided to make mine all from scratch. We only have one rule so far, it must be 100% edible. I decided to go all from scratch this year since this time I have a kitchen. I learned a couple of lessons that should aid me in next years gingerbread construction.

1. Measurements are Important
In my first batch of gingerbread dough I learned there is a difference in teaspoons and table spoons. Also, gingerbread is not the most accurate material to work with. For the sizing of the pieces I eye-balled the whole project. I did pretty good considering, but I think a ruler would have made it that much better.

2. Thick Gingerbread Cooks Slower
Maybe this is like a measurement problem, but I think next year I will focus on making all my pieces closer to the same thickness when rolling them out. Also, cooking smaller pieces with larger pieces is not a great idea. I plan to try and keep similar size gingerbread pieces together when in the oven.

3. Painting Icing
Using a paint brush to decorate seemed like an awesome idea. The lady on TV said it doesn't even leave brush strokes when it dries. Things never seem to work like they do on TV.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Collar Colors

This morning I wore a shirt I had pretty much forgot I had. There were a number of brand new, tag toting, shirts I packed away and put into storage. During the move we took everything out of storage. It was like Christmas all over. Today, since it's casual Friday, I wore one of my new shirts. It's blue and soft, a tad bit on the small side. Being blue made me ponder whether I was a blue collar worker or a white collar worker. I turned to Wikipedia for specifics on this subject.

I was surprised to learn there are many colored collared workers. White and blue I already had a decent understanding of. The reason I was curious is because my job has elements of both white and blue collar work.

Example that fit into white collar category:
  • I primarily sit while working
  • I work in an air conditioned environment
  • I do a lot of paperwork
Examples that fit into blue collar category:
  • Fixing computers is quite manual, it's not an IT job
  • Computers are dirty (dust + smokers = me washing my hands a lot).
  • I earn my wages hourly
I learned there is a gold, gray, pink, and green collared worker too. Most of those have clear definitions except for gray. Gray can be a person that works beyond retirement years, a person that does not fit into blue or white collar categories, or a person that fits into both. I guess, according to the omniscient Wikipedia, I best fit into the gray collar definition.

I'm not a big fan of the gray collar definition because it is so broad. Perhaps I'll be a gray collared worked all my life, only I'll find myself fit into the same category by one of the other definitions.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bittersweet Reality

Despite the fact my blog somewhat revolves around me living in an Airstream, I plan to continue this blog even though I am moving to an apartment. Ultimately, the Geek Wagon is a failed dream, but the spirit lives on. It is not just about living in a small confined mobile space. It is about being free to go and do what you want and not being tied down to any place in particular. The idea is great; the reality is that it is impossible.

To travel you have to have money. To have money you have to stay in one place and work. It is the typical time and/or money paradox. I look forward to life in the apartment because it will give me the opportunity to do things I cannot do in the trailer. Obviously it is nice to stretch out a little too. Ultimately, I do intend to create Geek Wagon version 2.0, and like all revisions things will be better the second time around.

Edited to add last pictures of the Geek Wagon. These were taken just a few minutes before I sold it and handed over the title.

The Electoral College

What can I say about the United States electoral college other than it is completely broken. The system we have set up now is most definitely not what the founding fathers had in mind. In fact, it is very opposite what they had in mind.

Currently, it is up to the states to decide who goes to vote in the electoral college, and thats where I would place the blame on why the system is broken. For states that are predominately one political party, like Texas, democratic votes are useless. Hell, republican votes are useless, because no matter what Texas will send 34 people to vote on whoever the republican candidate is.

This is not a fair representation of what the voters are voting for. This is not democracy! Your vote only really counts if you live in the right place. I don't even know what kind of government that is "geodemocracy" maybe? Your vote only matters if you are in the right geographic location.

The states are to blame because it was set up so the states can send whoever they want, but they chose to swing all the way to one side and send people who will vote only on the dominate party in the state. Why not simplify the system and send an accurate representation of how the people in your state voted? For example, if in Texas 91% of the people vote for a republican and 9% vote for a democrat, we should send 31 republican voters and 3 democratic voters. Is that really a difficult concept? Representing the people is what a democracy is all about. Not playing political games and creating rules to swing that game one way or the other. I'm not just picking on Texas here either. The fault lies with all 50 states. Way to go and conform to whats popular, not a single state stands out and does things differently.

As long as the electoral college stays the way it is I will never register to vote. The day my state grows the balls to make a change to accurately represent the will of its population, then I'll vote. I'll be the first in line. I will proudly serve my jury duty when it comes up too because now I have a voice. Until then I choose to be a nonvoter to protest our "geodemocracy."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Debunking the Myths

When I said soon I wasn't kidding. Here is my second paper. As stated in the last post this is an argumentative that argues for the advantages of open source software over proprietary commercial software.

This time I did not loose any points for work cited problems. It was an A+, but for those of you that might actually look up my sources, take them with a grain of salt. Although there is no plagiarism, I'm pretty sure I might have mixed up some sources with what I actually cited. This, of course, is not something that the teacher would catch in grading because I'm sure she does not go and read every source on every students paper. For the ones I got wrong I apologies. I thought about going back and fixing them all, but instead I think it would be more appropriate to share this in its original form.

Soon we'll be doing our third project, which is actually a presentation. For my presentation I will obviously do a PowerPoint presentation (PowerPoint is all that is available in the class room), and instead of a pamphlet I plan to actually pass out a CD with some open source software on it. One of those mini CD's people will think is cool. I'll post the presentation here, and if I can find a place to host it, the iso of the CD.

The Open Source Advantage

The Open Source Advantage is the informative paper I wrote for my English class. Although I made an A, I did loose points for my works cited page. I had some citations in there I didn't use in the paper, and some that were used in the paper but not on the page. Turns out I got confused with my copy and pasting of sources.

Other than my citation confusion, many people told me the paper was good. That gave me the confidence to publish it to the world. Odds are, no one will see it. None the less, it's out there.

I decided to use Google Documents as my medium to share my paper for a couple of reasons. First of all I didn't have to find a place to host my file. I don't have to make up my mind on what format to save it in. Also, Google Documents gives the option to save in any format if anyone should decide to use my paper for any reason. The link is below.

Thanks for anyone who is interested, and feel free to criticize. I'll post my second paper, which argues the advantages of open source over proprietary commercial software, soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Multi-function switch

My last post was about some topics I wanted to go more in depth about in the near future. First things first, a little auto repair.

The blinker in my truck stopped, well, blinking. The hazard lights still worked, so I can only conclude their was something wrong with the switch for the blinkers. I referred to my incredibly useful, yet monstrous, 65MB PDF that tells me all I would ever want to know about my truck. I learned that all of the blinker, hazard, lights, and wipers are all a part of this nifty little multi-function switch. Of course the PDF goes into how to remove it and put a new one back in place, but nothing about the inner workings of the switch. Before I drop $80 on a whole new switch I thought I'd just crack it open and see what makes it tick.

I would appear I was 100% right. Something was wrong with the switch and it was corrosion. South Texas' salt air, humidity, and heat can really wear things out around here. I learned long ago from my Dad you can clean corroded contacts with a pencil eraser, but never put that to the test until this. Now I know it requires a pencil eraser and a little bit of elbow grease.

Unfortunately, no amount of elbow grease seemed to make it work right again. Either I can't clean it well enough, or it's something more than corroded contacts. I'll probably end up purchasing a new multi-function switch.
EDIT: I was 100% wrong. Although the multi-function switch looked corroded, the multimeter test says it's good. I guess I'll go back to my PDF and try to find the cause my my blinker problem. I don't know what it is, but I suspect the little blue box behind the fuse panel that clicks when the blinker is on.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Up and coming in November

This morning I came up with about three different blog post I want to write about. Instead of going into detail on each on right now I thought I would just make a quick note so I don't forget.

First, the Electoral College. It's lame. Lamer than lame. Perhaps the lamest thing in our political system right now. But it wasn't always lame, in fact it was pretty ingenious when it was formed by the constitution over 200 years ago.

Second, I've been in contact with my friend Felix and he's been asking me about trailer life. Read my blog dude. My correspondence with him sparked many areas of trailer life I have not yet put in my blog.

Finally, I recently wrote some English paper's about open source software and I think in the spirit of open source I will release my papers to the public on my blog in a true open source style. I just want to do a tad bit of revising before I do so.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Power Supply Trouble

There is an additional 4 pins on a 24 pin mother board power connector when compared to the older 20 pin mother board power connector. Duh! The power connector is wired and keyed so that you can plug in a 20 pin power connector into a 24 pin and vise versa (although the additional 4 pins hang over).

Some new power supplies allow you to remove those additional 4 pins to keep them out of the way when using an older 20 pin motherboard. I never realized those additional 4 pins are keyed the same as the 4 pin auxiliary 12 volt plug that applies additional power to the CPU. It never even dawned on me to try to swap those.

This guy managed to stretch his add-on 4 pin connector to the 12 volt plug. One would think by all the extra work he had to do to stretch it far enough should have been a clue that maybe it doesn't go there.

In any case, this mother board was fried by the time we got it.

Although this isn't the kind of thing I would have thought to do, it does bother me slightly that they aren't keyed differently.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weighted Companion Cube <3

As usual, the latest installment of the Half-Life series gets my highest recommendations. This one also came with Portal. I was a big fan of Narbacular Drop. More of the idea than the actual game. When I heard Valve snatched up the guys that made it, I knew something wonderful was in the works and I was so right.

Portal is what they came up with. Everything about
this game was spectacular. The concept, the levels, the computer bad girl, and of course the Weighted Companion Cube. I found a place to print and create your own Weighted Companion Cube. But be cautious, mass of the paper Weighted Companion Cube may not be enough to trigger Aperture Science 1500-Megawatt Super colliding Super Button.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Playing with Prosper

With my recent interest in finance I checked out a few finance blogs. One of them introduced me to a little website called Prosper. I was a little skeptical at first, but bottom line you are the bank. Folks put in for loans up to $25,000 and all loans are on a 3 year term. I am a lender, so I loan people money, but I don't have to come up with the whole principal, just at least $50. My $50, combined with many other Prosper lenders, make up the loan the borrower gets.

I get to chose who I lend money to. I can see their credit rating, debit to income ratio, and even post a question if I want. People with better credit can get away with a lower interest rate, but their a safe bet. Borrowers with bad credit will start at higher interest rates (pretty normal stuff). When I put in my $50 bid, I chose the lowest interest rate I'm willing to take. It's all very interesting and I highly recommend throwing in $50 to try it out. I got in on a reference, so after I made my first loan I got a bonus $25. Free $25 bucks is hard to beat.

Because my first loan has so far gone well, I've decided $50 a month isn't too hard to come up with. My first loan gives me back a whopping $1.68 a month. Right now the plan is to make the money I get back a month equal the $50 I put into it a month, thus making it a self sustaining investment. Depending on the loans I find, and assuming everything works well, I figure it will take about a year and a half before I reach that point. When that happens I'll be able to loan out $50's a month without having it come out of my income. Then from there I'll work towards bringing in enough to pay some real bills. It will probably be a while before I can live off Prosper income. Rough estimates tell me I need to invest well over $60,000 to even consider it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

So Long Netbank

Apparently the Office of Thrift Supervision shut Netbank down. I didn't even know there was such a thing as an Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS). From what I understand they gave Netbank to the FDIC (someone I have heard of) and the FDIC is going to lay the burden on ING Bank. I'm sure ING Bank will make loads of money out of this somehow.

This is new for me, and actually very unexpected. I've never had my bank fail on me before. According to the OTS, "NetBank sustained significant losses in 2006 primarily due to early payment defaults on loans sold, weak underwriting, poor documentation, a lack of proper controls, and failed business strategies." I've been using Netbank for years. I think I opened up my account with them in 2000. I have to admit I've never had a problem with this as a customer. In fact quite the opposite. I'd go so far as to say they went out of their way to keep me happy.

I'm a small potatoes customer, but all I had to do was ask and they upped my savings account interest to 4.49%. I always felt they were very honest with me, and I think I only actually had to call them once. Pretty good considering they are an online bank with no branches.

Maybe, behind the scenes, they were shady and didn't do things by the book. Maybe thats why they got closed down. And maybe I can't speak for other customers, but I can say I was very happy with them and now I'm a little nervous about a new bank to deal with. The good news is, at least I don't have to do anything. Just sit back and wait for this new ING Bank to tell me how they're going to screw me over. But everything will remain the same for me for the "foreseeable future."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sock Paradox

In my sock draw are only two types of socks. A white short normal sock with gray heals and toes, and a white ridiculous tall sock that goes to my calf. I have an unspecified ratio of these two socks, but I have many of each. I don't fold my socks. I don't sort my socks. I just throw them in the draw and when I need them I start pulling out socks one by one knowing that I will never have to pull out more than three socks to get a pair.

One would think that some days I get a pair on the first two tries, and some days I have to pull out three before I get my pair. This is not the case. Every day I have to pull out three socks before I get a pair. I wonder why this is? I cannot find a paradox on Wikipedia that explains this phenomenon. Maybe one time, long ago, before I kept track I might have only had to pull out two. But now that I've noticed, it never fails, no matter how many socks are left I have to pull out three before I get a pair.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Observations of College Students

My observations of my fellow students leaves me to believe most of them are either jerks or lazy. Some are both, many are neither, but I think almost all of them have something up their butt in some way or another.

On a better subject, my new topic in English is open source software. The cat idea was cool, but after doing more research I found that there is not much debate there. Free software is apparently very interesting to the class as well. The other day we had to present two of our sources to the class and it was supposed to take all of maybe ten minutes. I ended up taking most of the class period. I felt kinda bad about it because it takes up time from other students, but I think I got a good number of people interested in my topic... go figure people like free stuff.

Friday, September 07, 2007

August Spending Analysis

I came to a profound conclusion about my monthly spending analysis. It's freakin' boring. Even to me. I think I'm going to forgo the August pie charts and turn it into an annual spending analysis. I can take the first few days of January to look back and see how I did over the year. Month to month doesn't really have enough interesting things taking place. I'll still post under the financial label from time to time I'm sure.


It turns out I'm going to be in a commercial. I didn't want to be the guy in the commercial, but when presented with the overwhelming logical arguments that it should be me I had no choice.

Me being in the commercial is not the cool part though. The cool part is what we get to do in the commercial. We get to destroy computers! Of course I took many pictures and when I get a chance I will post the videos as well.

Here is a before shot of the computer we dropped. I know it's hard to tell, but we left out many screws.

The after shot isn't too great, but you can see there was some real destruction.

Here is the after shot of a laptop we ran over. Surprisingly unimpressive, but I think it will get our point across.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Cat Tragity

There is a cat in my neighborhood that is a stray. She is a rather worn Russian Blue, but sweet and affectionate. A few of the neighbors have ban together to keep an eye on her. The stray has had two litters of kittens, that I am aware of. Unfortunately, of those two litters, she has only managed to raise one kitten. After discovering this, some of the neighbors did what would have made Bob Barker proud, and got her spayed. Personally, I've never been fond of stray animals, so why mother and kitten hung out underneath my girlfriends car is a mystery. None the less, on regular occasions she would have to scare them off so she could back out. One morning she was running a little late to work. She told me in a frustrated voice that those cats were under her car. Not even bothering to look away from my video game my advice to her was to start the car, they will move. I was right, they did move. Mother ran to one side of the street, and kitten to the other. Just as my girlfriend backed out of the drive way and on to the road the kitten decided it should be by it's mother. The rear passenger tire of my girlfriends Kia Sportage came between that little kitten and her mother in an untimely and gruesome way.

The event was sad, there is no doubt about that. My girlfriend, already late for work, was rather shaken. It was unfortunate we didn't have the time to embrace and let her cry. She had to go. My role of the supportive boyfriend was cut short and I felt helpless because I knew, although it was an accident, she felt horrible. After she left I was left alone with a mother cat and her twitching kitten. The mother cat looked up at me, just as helpless as I had looked at my girlfriend. She looked at me as if my mighty opposable thumb could some how turn back the clock a messily 30 seconds and undo the tragedy. The best I could do was move the kitten off the road so that they could be together, out of traffic, as the kitten passed away. I wondered, as I watched them from my window, if the mother understood death? If she would grieve? Do cats even have emotions? There are some who would argue animals are nothing more than biological machines programmed to survive and reproduce. That, we as emotional illogical humans, personify animals around us because we don't understand them. While I agree we don't fully understand them, and to some degrees we do give our pets more credit than they deserve for their actions. After this event I know a cat can grieve. This morning I woke up to see mother Russian Blue, looking at the spot of discolored road where her genealogy ended.

As sad as the story is, I did manage to find some good in it. For one, I finally figured out what my argumentative topic is going to be in my English class that I've been racking my brain over for the past few days. The second is I've joined my neighbors in helping take care of the stray. Her life has been difficult to say the least. Perhaps she was not the best mother, or maybe she just had really bad luck. It's not my place to decide. I can decide to make sure she doesn't go hungry or thirsty for as long as she stays around. I figure, it's the least I should do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Carrier Air V

Within the mysterious hole in my blog that took place between February and October of last year, I bought a new air conditioner for the trailer. It was a Carrier Air V, and when it was brand new it was cool, really cool.

A little over a year later, the compressor died on me, which basically means new air conditioner. Fortunately, I filled out the warranty paper work and even kept it in a safe place. Because I returned the warranty card I got an additional year of parts warranty.

I still think Carrier is a good A/C unit. South Texas is probably one of the most extreme environments an A/C unit will find itself in. In fact, the guy that installed is said my Carrier was the first he had ever seen go bad. Just my luck. Hopefully, it was a fluke and my new one will run for a good long time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Paying for School

I'll be starting school on August 23rd, but the tuition was due on August 14th. I can't help but feel college is an all around scam. If I fork out enough money, I get a degree. True I have to wait a few years, but it makes me wonder if I forked out enough maybe they would just give it to me sooner? I dunno, but over all it's a scam.

I'll be taking U.S. History to 1865, so it will be interesting to learn about Thomas Jefferson's view on education and how it should be free (like public schools) and cheep (higher education schools) for the masses. I could be totally wrong on what Mr. Jefferson thought about education, but I do know that he was correct in thinking that education has a direct link to being a notable citizen. While I agree with that, why do I have to pay $97.30 for a campus gym I'll never use? I'm there for school, nothing more. If I wanted to work out I'd pay $8 a month and go to a real gym that has much better equipment. It certainly beats my college's $25 a month mandatory gym cost.

I'll also be taking an English class, so there is hope for my blog after all.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Good 'ol Days of Warcraft

I don't blog about World of Warcraft much even though I am an avid player. Partly because I would like to think there is more to my life than that video game. All in all, WoW is actually a very fun, and economical way, to spend (waste) time. I'm going to try and write this post in a way people who don't play WoW can easily understand what I am talking about.

The only reason I bring it up is because today I was talking to my brother and it turns out he's making a character a lot like the one I have, which in itself is flattering. I was telling him about how I play and some of the ins and outs. I'm a Troll Warrior for those of you who are interested. The Warrior class is exactly what it sounds like. There is no magic, it's just simple smack people with my weapon and wear heavy plate armor. I like simple, that's why I went that route. One of the abilities we have is called Intimidating Shout; which is basically where I yell and everyone around me runs away in fear.

Today this ability is limited to only five people. So if I yell and there are six people standing around me, five get scared and one is left to beat on me. This have been done for game balance, which is fine with me. Game balancing mechanics that hinder a character are affectionately referred to as a "nerf" (yes just like the foam balls and arrows made by the company). Warriors have been through many "nerfs" all of which I find understandable. The Intimidation Shout nerf was the first, and so far only, one I found annoying.

Here is a poor quality youtube video of the ability before the nerf. Not the best, but as you can see all the bad guys run away from the warrior for a few seconds. This example was done with a high level warrior against a lot of low level bad guys. The reason this nerf was annoying to me because it took away the fun. The only place you could get away with it the way they do in the video is when you're fighting much lower level bad guys than you. Or when you are fighting a lot of other players. Hence the whole reason for the nerf. Warriors fighting large groups of other players where able to scatter them very easily.

The video sparked a good memory of playing WoW in the past, and I didn't want to forget about so here it is in blog form. Hopefully written in a way I'll understand it many years after I've stopped playing WoW.

EDIT: The first picture is the icon use in game to represent Intimidating Shout. I also added the actual video instead of a link to it because I remembered you could do that.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

July Speding Analysis

It's the beginning of a new month, time for some more pie charts.

Luxury was higher than normal this month because of a trip to Houston to visit my parents. Gas was up for the same reason. It was a very enjoyable trip, and it really didn't hurt that bad. I put off making a larger payment on my credit card, and I didn't save as much this month.

Speaking of savings, I combine savings and investing. I don't know if that's the way to go, but both represents money I'm setting aside for a long term. The only investing I'm doing is Prosper, which is something I learned about on another blog. I'm sure I'll have a post on my Prosper experience later this month.

The only reason Other Necessity even exists this month was because my converter went out in the trailer. I'm proud to say I didn't have to put it on a credit card, I was able to pay for it out right.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

EA part 2

EA's response to me was a nice little message that only said we're going to forward your complaint to someone new. To get it I had to log into their website, they weren't nice enough to send me a convent email. After they sent me that nice generic response, they sent me a survey... to my email! So I posted this blurb at the end of the survey.
Well you guys didn't respond to what I said at all. It was just a "Hi thanks for complaining, we're forwarding your message to someone else."

Not that I said anything that merits a response, it would have been nice if you at lease said, "We're a company, we're here to make money, and if you don't like how we do business you're welcome to demonstrate your dissatisfaction by purchasing games from our competition."

Obviously, the most idea response would have been something to the effect of, "We know we've done fans of Origin wrong, and to show how much we want to make it right we're going to offer you a job as a gaming consultant so that we can try to capture the demographics of gamers that elude us."

None the less, your cowardice auto-response is what I would expect from a big evil company that cares more for making money than actually satisfying customers.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sony officially makes it to my list of crappy OEM's

Sometimes I wish people did read my blog just so I could warn them to stay away from things. Things like Sony Vaio's. Without a doubt Sony is in at least the top 5 of crappy OEM computers. The number one reason they suck is lack of driver support. Any OEM that doesn't have every single driver available from their website after a fresh install of Windows is lacking the most basic customer support. True, Sony isn't the only one that does this, but they are one of the most annoying.

Worse yet, don't ever loose your BIOS password. To get past it you have to contact Sony, have multiple forms of identification and ownership of the laptop (good luck with that). Then, after many weeks, you might get them to help you with it. Sony was smart enough to store the password on an EEPROM separate from the CMOS. Great for security, but in the long run it will cost you between $300-$450 to get your laptop sent back to get it cleared.

Congratulation Sony, you might very well be worse than HP or even eMachines. It's unfortunate people fall for all the polished crap that makes their laptops look good. If anyone ever does read this, tell your friends to buy Gateway, Dell, or Toshiba. No OEM is great, but, coming from a computer tech, those are the ones I see the least of (well I see a lot of Dell, but it's always software problems which is an unfortunate side effect of loading up computers with trialware).

Friday, July 27, 2007

I had to tell EA to stay away from my Wii!

I read the EA press release about how they regretted not supporting the Nintendo Wii. They only made a few games for the Wii and many games for the Xbox and PS3, and darn it they missed out on all that money Nintendo is raking in. That's too bad EA, I have no sympathy for you. In fact I contacted EA with the following letter.
I read an article that you guys regret missing the boat on the Nintendo Wii, and I thought I would take the time to offer you some free advice. Stay away from the Wii. You already ruined Ultima and Wing Commander for me so just do everyone a favor and stay away from Nintendo.

Congratulations on creating the same games over and over and ruining the game industry for people that enjoy innovative and entertaining games.
I look forward to their response, but will be surprised if they take the time.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wireless Power

Been a while since I looked into wireless electricity. It's a concept that is cool, but difficult for me to grasp. In my mind, wireless electricity is lightning. As dangerous as that sounds there is a company that not only has working products, but won best emerging technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2007. I'm probably the last person to blog about this (sometimes I'm slow), and there are obviously many uses for it. Of course it's my job to come up with cool ways to incorporate it into my trailer.

Also, it's rare I find safe bets when it comes to stock. The company, Powercast, is an L.L.C and not traded on the stock exchange. However, Phillips is a company they are dealing with and even expect to start having products available for consumers before the end of this year. Even if they don't come out with anything until the end of next year, I think Phillips stock might be worth looking into.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Computer Shop Woas

I used to blog about problematic computers that came in the shop. Haven't done it in a while, but today I had two odd balls that came in about the same time.

The first one wouldn't turn on unless the side of the case was open. In fact, when you put the side back on, it would turn off. Weird, but ultimately was the power supply. When the case was put together, it would move the wires in such a way that the power supply would short. I thought about actually finding the short in the wire, or likely in the molex connector, but in the end it was easier and better for the customer just to replace the power supply.

The second one was a bit trickier. The customers power supply, motherboard, CPU, and ram would all post out side the case. But in the case it would turn on for a moment, then shut back down. I thought for sure it was a short somewhere on the motherboard while it was in the case, but I couldn't find anything. I tried a different power supply, motherboard, CPU, and ram in the customers case, and it did the same thing. It finally dawned on me the only thing different between being in the case and out of the case, besides the case, was the atx power switch. Low and behold, replace it and everything worked fine. Second time in my career as a PC technician have I found the actual power switch to be the culprit. In this one's case I did a continuity test with a multimeter to find the switch was always on. Which explains why it would come on for about ten seconds and turn off no matter what hardware was in the case.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I decided to do a better job of keeping track of food this month. Also, I'm trying to curb eating out and do better at planning my grocery shopping. So far it's been alright. Definitely been eating more at home. Lunch time is the hardest because peer pressure dictates I go out and grab some fast food with my co-workers. Not that I don't enjoy the lunch time socialization; it just cost money and now I'm froogle (froogle sounds so much nicer than cheap doesn't it?).

Eating out is bad for the budget. Even when I do eat out I try to save though. Yesterday I spent $3.24 on a Subway sandwich. It was only a 6" and it was ham, the cheapest they have besides a veggie. I didn't get chips or a drink. I keep soda's at the shop, I pick up a case when I'm at the grocery store and they're on sale. Last time I bought a twelve pack of soda it was $2.71 after tax. Each soda cost roughly $0.23, making my lunch a whopping $3.47. Granted I can easily go through a few soda's a day including the one I drink with my lunch. But even if I drink three, eating and drinking during my work day comes to under $4.00.

I'm pretty anal about keeping track of things like where I spend my money, or how much electricity is being used. Things like food I'm a little short sighted on. It takes a bit of effort to determine how much that sandwich I just made cost. Soda's are pretty easy to divide by twelve, but those chips and dip? How many cents is each chip worth? How the hell do you calculate that dip? More importantly, why do I run out of chips and still have halve the dip's a vicious cycle that keeps chips and dip on alternating shopping lists. Speaking of things to keep track of, how do you account for things going bad? I can't go through a half a gallon of milk before it goes bad.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nothing to Hide

I read a paper arguing against the "nothing to hide" argument (pdf) most people use when it comes to the government prying in our business. I admit I've used this argument myself because it's true. I've got nothing to hide. My life is pretty boring and I have documentation to prove it. The arguments against this "nothing to hide" policy are compelling. The author really did his home work and brings up some valid points. For example; if you have nothing to hide then you shouldn't mind letting the author of that paper take a naked photo of you, own the rights to it, and let him distribute it as he sees fit.

In the authors defense, there are people like that. They're called porn stars. Although I use this argument when it comes to my personal electronic communication, I think there is some kind of boundary when it comes to nudity. Why the author would want naked pictures of me in the first place is what would disturb me. Any one that wants naked pictures of me, very likely, should be the ones the government is monitoring.

And to answer his question, "Do you have curtains in your home?" Of course, you don't expect me to get my game on with light reflecting off my computer monitor do you? I have thick light blocking curtains. But sometimes, when I'm not gaming and it's a nice day, I totally open up those curtains and let anyone that wants to look in and see how I live. Now, again, at night when I'm changing into my pajama's, no I would rather not let all my neighbors see that. I guess my question is, where is the line when it comes to privacy? There are privacy issues that let the government read my email and potentially catch me doing crimes, and there are issues that let my neighbor see me naked. I think they're very different and shouldn't be mixed up, which seems to be the fundamental argument of this paper.

When the government starts to request naked pictures, or video camera's in my home, I'll draw the line. But if they just want to make sure I'm law biding citizen, which ultimately exonerates me of any potential crime I could be accused of, I'm all for it. That begins my philosophy that even an innocent man that gets accused of a crime is already having problems. In most cases just being accused is just as bad as actually committing the crime. If my email's and phone calls can help out an innocent person then I'm all for that (especially if it's me) just as much as I'm all for them finding legitimate criminals. Honestly I can't see how removing my curtains will help convect, or not convect, anyone of a crime. Except of course that crime was in my home... than I would have something to hide.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Wing Commander

Wing Commander was another great game that was a victim of EA buying out Origin. I can only imagine how great the series would have become if it continued. To date, I have yet to play a space flight combat simulator that compares. Unfortunately, I never owned a copy of it when it was in it's prime. In an effort to show my undying support for Origin, I set out to find a legal copy. Wing Commander 2 is still easily obtainable; as is 3, 4, privateer, armada, and many of the other Wing Commander games I can't remember. WC1 and WC2 were probably my favorites of them all though. I did eventually find the original Wing Commander. Unfortunately, it's not the deluxe that comes with special operations 1 & 2 and the speech pack. But at least I'll be able to play the original game again in all it's glory.

Funny how these old games work. When they first came out everyone was excited because it was new and fresh. Now they're hard to find but they're still exciting when you do get to play them. If only I had known that games like Wing Commander and Ultima were going to be some of the best games in all of history, I would have bought them new, kept all the manual, taken great care to keep the original packaging and documentation in great condition. A lot of these games came with things, unlike todays games. For example, the original Wing Commander came with blue prints of the ships. Ultima came with cloth maps of the world. If a video game company today, could do what Origin did before video games were mainstream, they would do very well for themselves I think.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Observations in Nintendo Demographics

My boss bought a Nintendo DS for the sole purpose of playing Brain Age's Sudoku. This is just a perfect example of how Nintendo is broadening their demographics. It also happens to be one of the rare examples of how a company's strategy is actually noticeable. My boss is just the newest of these examples I'm finding in my life.

The first example was last Christmas when I played Nintendo Wii with my 80 year old grandmother. I have to admit she schooled me at bowling. In the past few years Nintendo has made huge advances breaking out of the 13-24 male bracket. I can't even explain why this is interesting to me other than I can point it out when I see it happening.

By the way, have a lucky 7-7-07.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Saving Money on Entertainment

"Entertain me," this is what America seems to be all about these days. I fall into this category just like most everyone else. Typically, we can go out to eat, see a movie, go to a club, or do whatever it is that entertains you. Of course all these things cost money. These are some things I do to save money on entertainment.

Game on. It's easy for me to get my game on. Personally I find video games to be one of the most enjoyable pass times out there, and it doesn't have to be expensive. Most people already have a computer, and there are a plethora of free online games. I personally like to play Space Penguin (requires flash) and Sudoku. There are a number of Sudoku site, that is one of my favorites. Other games work out to be amazingly cost efficient as well, like World of Warcraft (WoW). I hear so may people say, "Oh I can't afford the monthly payment." Which is sure sign someone didn't do their homework. I pay for two WoW accounts at $15 a month. I pay for them in six month intervals because you get a discount. After tax, in Texas, six months of WoW comes to $84.37. For $168.74 I can entertain myself and my girlfriend every night for 180 days (94 cents a day). No, we don't play every night.

There are arguments gaming cost more. For example you may have a computer, but not a computer than can run WoW. A few smart upgrades can make just about any computer, even one a few years old, worthy of most games. Other games, namely single player games, work out pretty well. Half Life 2 cost me $50 and kept me tied up for the better part of a month. Much more cost effective than a two hour move.

Outside of gaming, but still using computers, blogging is an effective way to keep busy. If you have a blog people read you might even make money off that with Google's Adsense. Personally I started a blog to work on my writing skills, but I find it a fun way to spend a few hours. Granted my interest in it wanes and ebbs, but like with most things you have to have an interest in something to be entertained by it. Sometimes that interest can be manually sparked; sometimes it can't.

I also don't go to every new movie release out there either. Sometimes thats a hard one to follow. Right now all my co-workers are telling me how great Die Hard 4 was, and how spectacular Transformers was (even though the reviews say it isn't so hot). I'm sure they're all worth watching, but I can easily wait for them to come out on DVD. Since I wait for things to come out on DVD, I watch the new rental release list. They may not be new, but they're new to me and I get to watch them in the comfort of my own home without the chance of a crying kid behind me. Sometimes I do make exceptions. Like when I can tell my girlfriend is frustrated we haven't gone out in a while. Mathematically, this comes down to seeing a movie in the theater once a month. This month will be Transformers. We plan to see it tomorrow. I also do my best to stay away from going on opening day, and eat something before you go because their hot dogs are way over priced.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My 12 Volt Mystery

Yesterday I got a chance to learn more about my 12 volt system here in the trailer. One day I would really like to have a superb 12 volt system. Complete with multiple batteries, solar panels, heavy duty converters and inverters, and hopefully the ability to actually run for a decent amount of time without the need for 110 volt power. Until that day, I have 12 volt lights and a couple of read outs with a single converter and no batteries.

As I was saying, I was up to my elbows in the mess of what remains of my limited 12 volt system all because my 50 amp converter finally kicked the bucket. No surprise though, it was the original converter that came with the Airstream and was on my list of things I know will fail sometime in the near future. The new one wasn't too bad. I was expecting it to be a lot more expensive. As you can see from my picture, it really looks like a power supply out of a computer. Which makes since seeing how they do the same thing. It even has an 80mm case fan on it. The new one also only weighed about a tenth of what the old one weighed; no exaggeration.

I had some problems installing it. I even called my dad who helped me out quite a bit. I was getting continuity between the positive and the negative wire in my fuse box, so naturally, when I plugged in the new converter, it didn't stay on long. I looked around the trailer for a short, sure that something had to happen that caused my old converter to die and created this continuity, but nothing. In the end I just started unhooking wires until the multimeter told me there was no more continuity between the positive and the negative wires that come from the converter. Once that was figured out, the converter powered up fine and all my lights worked again, but here is the complicated part. The positive lead gives me continuity to the ground (which my dad explained might be a positive ground system and seems plausible), but the negative also gives me continuity to the ground... yet they still don't give me continuity with each other. Which makes absolutely no since to me. How do two wires make a complete circuit with the ground, but not each other? I'll even be the first to admit, my understanding of electricity lacks considerably considering I'm kind of a geek and all.... but I know a little. I guess I don't know this though.

None the less, the new converter works and is in place, distributing power to my lights, a really well placed clock at the front of the trailer, and my tank level read outs.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Savings vs Credit Cards

Like I mentioned in my June Spending Analysis; I have a new savings and credit card philosophy. To keep things simple, I have a single credit card. Usually it's used to cover things I cannot afford out of my checking account. For example; back in January my cat had a veterinary bill that was most untimely. That went on the credit card. Nothing small goes on the credit card. It's pretty much for emergencies. My savings account is nothing spectacular, but I know it's important to me to save money every pay check.

Pay yourself first is a great rule, but an inflexible one that is hard to live by. I have created a "flexible pay myself first" plan. I have a minimum and a maximum amount to put in savings every pay day. The minimum is a number I know I can live without. Something ridiculously low like $10. No mater what, every pay day my savings account will get $10. I have a medium number, like say $25 (keep in mind these aren't my numbers I'm just making them up), that is what I really try to put in savings every pay day. If all is normal and nothing unexpected comes up, $25 is put away. Then I have a best case scenario number, something like $100. That's what I put away if I'm living frugal and I'm ahead on my bills. If I'm trying to make a serious dent in my credit card debt, I'll cut the savings down to my minimum number and make larger payments towards my credit card (like I did in June).

I have a savings account and a credit card, basically they're opposites. One interest rate works against me and one works for me, albeit the one that works for me doesn't work nearly has hard as the one that works against me. It makes since to sacrifice the savings account to pay off the credit card, but here is the conundrum. If I wipe out my savings to pay off my credit card, when something comes up, like unexpected auto repair, the only way to pay for it is from the credit card again. It's a good idea to keep some much in savings while working to pay off the credit card. Granted the credit card may take a little longer to pay off, but at least you're not leaving your self without a way to pay for emergencies. This way, when the credit card is payed off there is still money in savings to fall back on.

The next conundrum is, once that card is payed off, do I destroy it and never look back? Personally I don't think it hurts to have at least a single credit card, preferably with a zero balance. In my own case I cannot access money in my savings account unless I manually transfer it to my checking. So in an instance I need to pay a large bill I can put it on my credit card that has a zero balance, transfer the same amount from my savings to my checking, then make an immediate payment on the credit card. Although the steeps involved seem redundant there are a number of advantages to this. First of all, all this can be done on line within a few minutes after getting home from paying that big bill. Secondly, because of the process I'm less likely to use my credit card on smaller purchases that could be payed for with my check card. Another advantage of this is I have a better bead on where my money comes and goes. My girlfriend hates it when I whip out my spreadsheet of accounts and study the numbers, but the time I spend doing that helps me see how my spending effects my financial situation. Lastly, I have a credit card with decent rewards. If I have to put some unexpected auto repair on my credit card I at least get a little something in return. If I have the ability to pay it off from savings immediately, it's basically getting something for nothing. I don't pay any interest, and I still get credit card reward points.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Back to Basics

I originally started this blog to document trailer life as a geek. Most folks that are full time RVers are retired, I thought I might have a unique perspective on it. The major difference between me and those retired folks is that they usually have something a lot newer than my Airstream. Most recently, my air conditioner began to smell really bad. Worse yet, I replaced it in February 2006. I am no A/C repair man, but I did open it up and take a look around. There was a little mold and some dust. Cleaning it out offered little improvement; it only smelt like bleach for a little while, then right back to the old smell. A smell that was both nasty and familiar. A smell that was just like the old air conditioner.

I had the guy that installed it come back out and poke around just in case I had messed something up in cleaning it. Fortunately, everything was fine. He surmised the smell was coming from between the outer skin and inner skin of the trailer, where all the twenty some-odd year old insulation has been. Now that went right up my flag pole. He temporarily helped out my smelly a/c problem with some aluminum tape to mask off the area's where the a/c was sucking air from between the skins of the trailer, but that didn't last too long.

In the end I relied on some old fashion foam in a can and duct tape. I used to duct tape to mask off the same area's as the repair man did with the aluminum tape. Only I left some holes so I could foam up the inside. I left the duct tape up there and put the inside part of the a/c back together. Although I know the duct tape will come off one day, and thats okay, living in south Texas gets old really quick with the a/c off. Since then, there has been no smell.... from the a/c anyway.

Every now and again we get the really nasty sewage smell. At first I thought it was a sign my holding tank was full, but I've finally come to the conclusion it's just the park. The smell is the same everywhere, especially strong in the public bathroom. It doesn't happen much nor does it last long, but we keep some air freshener around.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Speaking of Better Pie Charts

This one represents average spending for the year so far. I thought today, because the year is half over, would be a good day to do this one. I even figured out how to add percentages with calc.

As one can see, the beginning of the year's auto maintenance (8.28%) really hurt. Most of the Other Necessity (3.04%) was a vet bill for my poor cat (he's fine now by the way). This chart gave me some thing to do on a Sunday morning anyway.

June Spending Analysis

June was far more frugal than most months, and the pie chart shows it. I paid about 30% more this month in bills than usual because I'm trying to make a serious dent in my credit card debt. The current plan is to do that for the next three months to get rid of the credit card debt I accumulated just this year. Unexpected veterinary and auto repair ran rampant in January and February, and I'm just now starting to play catch up on it. On the plus side is only things I consider an "emergency" has stayed on my credit card. I did use it for some minor things, but paid those off immediately.

Because I've been putting more towards the credit card I took some away from savings. This month marks a new philosophy on credit cards vs savings accounts. I'll go more into that on a later post, but for now I think it's safe to reduce the amount I save as long as I don't stop saving all together.

Gas, groceries, and other necessities, were all good this month. The only reason I even had other necessities this month was because of a hair cut and a couple of small checks for college transcripts. Next month I'm going to take a hard look at groceries. I think if I take a little time to plan meals I can start to save in that area.

On the Luxury break down I actually did fairly well. I spend a whopping $2.17 on entertainment. That was a movie rental with a coupon and a dollar credit on my account for returning a new release within 24 hours. This month happens to be an extreme example of how little I spend on entertainment. It's usually in the tens of dollars for an entire month. Other than that half of it was gifts. Father's day, graduations, a birthday or two, all added up. The other half was eating out. Again, I hope to reduce this cost along with the grocery cost.

June was a good month for me. In the end I paid all my bills, lowered my credit card debt, and watched a movie at home with my sweetie.

Hopefully my pie charts will get better too.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Account Buffers

Apparently I missed a calling as an accountant. I currently have four idea's for future blog posts saved in drafts that all pertain to my new "financial" label. I thought I would go ahead and start with a small one and talk a little about a thing I call Account Buffers.

I know I'm a nerd and don't do my finances like most folks. Because I'm a nerd I like nerdy words, like buffer. An account buffer is pretty much what it sounds like. Netbank charges me a fee if my savings account drops below $500, so my savings account buffer is $500. I take that right off the top of my check book and pretend like it isn't even there. So if my spreadsheet shows I have $750 in savings, Netbank will show me $1250. I do the same thing on my checking account too. That way if I say, write a bad check, it won't bounce.

Sometimes it's hard to forget that money isn't there. In my spreadsheet I have a row that shows my balance and it accounts for the buffer. In reality, if my balance is a red negative number, I still have a little in my account. Below is an example of what my spreadsheet looks like...and yes the numbers are fictitious.

Clicking on that picture should give a better view of it. Row 2 I usually keep hidden and I work off row 3 for what I can spend. Column E and G are used to create the buffer and, as you can see I keep those hidden as well. Rows 4 - 232 make up January - May as far as activities go. Generally I hide all but the current month. Columns H and J are old loans that currently have a zero balance, hence why they are hidden. The merged cell below Credit Card and Car Loan represents the total amount of money I owe to everyone. Finally the total column at the end is what I have minus what I owe. Kind of like a net worth that doesn't take into account any equity of any kind. My goal is to basically make that number as high as possible, at least closer to black. This picture does a good job of showing the actual amount in my accounts versus the amount I pretend is there. And yes, this practice has saved me from writing a bad check or two.

Blogging Away Debt

This morning on my way to work I heard an article on NPR about debt and they made mention of Blogging Away Debt. At first I thought this idea was ridiculous. Opening up financial records for all the world to see how much you suck at managing money. In hind sight, and after reading a little bit, I realize it's the kind of thing that helps keep you honest with yourself. Of course it goes against everything I was tough by my parents about money. It's the kind of thing you're not supposed to talk about; it's not polite. As a counter argument, as a whole, we as people learn from not only our past, but from each other. If no one talks about how they manage their money, how will we learn from each others mistakes?

As good as my own argument is, I've chosen to start blogging a bit about my financial life. Not because I want others to learn from it (although I hope someone can), but because it will help keep me honest and stay on track with my financial plan. I'll be the first to admit, my financial life isn't interesting enough to make an entire blog out of, but I'm thinking at least a once a month post. Hopefully this will also help keep me interested in my blog. It's also an excuse to start using the post labels feature in Blogger, which is new to me. I even took the time to go add labels to all posts for this year (not many post).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Irresistible Force Paradox

So I found my blog again after almost six months and now I'm all over it with a post a day for three days. This post come because I learned about something new on Wikipedia called the Irresistible Force Paradox.

How I got this far in life without ever even hearing about this I'll never know, but it's damn interesting. I knew the shield and two-handed mace from World of Warcraft had something in common (and this item is funny too).

After reading Wikipedia's definition and solutions to the problem I wondered to myself if an unstoppable force can stop on it's own? True, it's unstoppable, and by the literal definition it cannot be stopped by anything. But, if it was truly unstoppable would it not be able to stop itself because by not being able to stop itself, in itself, makes it not unstoppable! Let me try to explain this another way...

Basically there cannot be a such a thing as an unstoppable force. For an unstoppable force to be unstoppable, it should be able to do whatever it wants to. It has unlimited energy. So if it wanted to stop, but it can't, now it didn't do whatever it wanted to. It has limitations, and with unlimited energy it cannot have limitations. It's inability to stop invalidates it's very existence as and unstoppable force.

My argument for an immovable object is a little different. An immovable object cannot exist because for an immovable object to exist it cannot be made of atoms. Atoms move pretty much no matter what (at least as far as I know).

Another argument for both to not exist would go back to perpetual motion. For an object to have unlimited energy and power, this unlimited energy and power would have to come from somewhere. Unless for some reason the immovable object or unstoppable force has an external power source; which would very likely make them stoppable or movable. Thus, either of these anomalies, will have to violate the first law of thermodynamics.

For the most part, immovable objects and irresistible forces exist, but only in perspective. André the Giant may really be an immovable object to a wus like me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Google's new Documents and Spreadsheets

Tonight Google updated the look and feel of their Documents and Spreadsheets, and even though I know no one will read it here first I'm proud to be able to be one of the first to announce it. I only know about it because my girlfriend was actually using it as it changed. Here is a nifty screen shot, but the best way to check it out will be to go see it yourself.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Been a While

Like many other lazy American's I don't write in my blog on a regular basis. Not that I have any regular readers I keep on pins and needles awaiting my next post. In fact, I don't think I've made more then a few cents with the Google Adsense. None of that bothers me though, in fact my blog is more for my own use than anything else.

I did come up with a new idea for a blog; Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters 2 in a new body with the same devious plan to take over the world. I hope to use it to help what little creative side I have in me. In setting it up I did discover all the new things added to blogger. As usual, I was impressed with how Google improved
Blogger. Speaking of Google and their glory I finally got a chance to play with Picasa. I honestly never cared for picture applications that take total control of your pictures. I find in most cases (especially with customers), they just make things complicated and difficult to organize. What pictures show up in my application, vs what pictures are really in my picture folder or somewhere else on my computer. Although Picasa is no exception to this, I did find it's ability to edit photo's fantastic. I made this dashingly ugly photo for my Vigo blog (surprising I could find no decent pictures of Vigo on the net).

On a side note I've been using Ubuntu 7.04 on my bench machine at work. I added a two-prong double action switch so I could easily go back and fourth between Windows and Linux if need be. I keep it in Linux most of the time, but I admit I have gone back to Windows to run check disks on NTFS drives and to use Visio. Unfortunately I have yet to find an open source equivalent to Microsoft's Visio. Honestly I don't use it enough to sweet it. Ubuntu has been great though. It lacks some basics that prevent it from becoming any real competition with Windows. For example, the ability to play DVD's and MP3's out of the box. No big deal for a geek like me to figure it out, but I can see where the average user would get annoyed real quick. I do wonder if the machines Dell sells with Ubuntu can do those things out of the box.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Why are we so Lazy when it comes to Money?

If it wasn't for working on customer's computers I'd never see the front page of Thanks to Microsoft ingeniously making the default homepage in Internet Explorer, and the average user's inability to change their home page from the default, I get to see it quite often. Granted I'm usually already typing in Google before the page loads, but today I happen to catch the title of two related articles.

Surviving (and thriving) on $12,000 a Year

Scraping by on $150,000 a year

Both are about a household and how they get by (or don't) on their drastically different annual incomes. The family with $150,000 a year definitely has other issues than just money, and bottom line they're lazy. I honestly don't have any sympathy for them. The girl on the limited income, going to school, helping her daughter, donating to church... now that I have some serious respect for.

Between these two articles I can closer relate to the poor girl, but still I don't think I try as hard as she does. Perhaps because I don't have to; I do make a few dollars more than she does. In any case, within the last year or so, personal finance has become very interesting to me. I have a spreadsheet of all my accounts with how much money I have (well don't have) and keep track of all the payments I make. It is interesting to me how it is all related, and how the interest of a credit card can really add up if you're not careful.

There are all the good financial practices my parents taught me growing up, but unfortunately none of it really sank in until I made my spreadsheet. Now I understand what it means when I hear, "A dollar is worth more today than it will be tomorrow." It may drive my girlfriend up the wall when I just sit there and look at the red and black numbers in Calc, but for some reason it just makes me feel better to really understand what is going on in my financial world. I can only hope that the rest of America, and the rest of the world, can get a better grasp n their own finances. I really believe the world would be a much better place if the poorer masses would quite giving their money to the richer minority through some absurd interest rate just because their too lazy.

On a related note I recently heard a song by Shania Twain called Ka'ching. It made me chuckle.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Wii Virtual Console

I haven't posted about the Wii yet in my blog, mostly because I've been too busy playing it. With the came virtual consoles, emulators for older games. One of the most recent editions, and my first experience with a virtual console, was the original Super Mario Brothers.

Of course it was great to play this game again on a console, the game was 100% intact, bugs and all. One of the first things I did was go tobut what I found interesting is that the "minus world" which was pretty much the only trick I knew until I did a quick search on Google.

Apparently, there are a number of glitches in the game that have been found, and so far every one of them works on the Wii version.

As exciting as all this was for me to discover first hand, the Wikipedia article for Super Mario Brothers beat me to it.