Posts filed under 'Schtuff'
After a pretty lousy day at work, had great fun geeking out a little this evening.
* Lego WeDo – spinning ducks! (first efforts at activities for a corporate Women In Computing Day this Sunday… LOVE that the women in our company are now pulling this together for the 3rd year! Uh, linked video is not me or my child commenting…)
* Used a random number generator online to pick the winner of a 50/50 raffle to benefit some rugby players fundraising to go to Russia for the World University games. These ladies are all Naval Academy midshipmen, so have some significant restrictions on how they can fundraise. Help them out via their fundraising site
* ThinkGeek has a Mother’s Day section! Uh, not so keen on the whole idea of cosmetics on ThinkGeek. That said, superhero socks (somehow listed in the cosmetics section?) would be pretty fun to have peeking out under slacks at work on tough days…
April 30th, 2013
I’m ready to get my next tattoo, or even set of tattoos. Kid-themed, I think, where kids = bears, squids, and maybe CareBears. That’s parental love, if I end up with the pain of inking for a CareBear. Given that Callie just got her hair dyed blue (ends only!), I’m now thinking Squid Girl – anime series.
Tattoos for my kids. Not exactly the kind of rebellion I imagined when I got my first at 19… But somehow a good marker of my life and how it’s changed since then.
April 2nd, 2013
Savvy or slimy? Ordering flowers from Teleflora, there are options for standard, deluxe, and premium. Premium is of course the defaulted option, which I realized when I saw the bill in my cart. Removed the item and went back. Selected ‘standard’ that time. Taken again to the cart, and this time I have three buttons to let me toggle between standard, deluxe, and premium. No such buttons when they defaulted me to premium. By the way, if you select -premium- from the cart area and recalculate the total, you suddenly lose all buttons again and can only adjust the size by removing the item from the cart and starting over. Sorry, but it is worth a bit of headache to me to take $20 off of the bill. And now that I’ve recognized the tactic, I may choose another florist company the next time round.
February 15th, 2013
Rather than resolutions, I’m going to try a Ben Franklin-esque approach, adding new habits over the year. He built himself a list of 13 virtues, and then a cycle in which he concentrated on one per week. He kept a log which then let him hold himself accountable: each day in which he didn’t accomplish his virtue habit, he put in an X mark. The goal, of course, was to have a week clear of X’s. On week 1, he worked on habit 1. On week 2, he logged how he did on habit 1, but really focused on habit 2. The idea was that by concentrating on a particular habit and logging previous, you’d do well at your focused habit, and at least better than you were doing previously on your previous habits. Rinse and repeat 4 times (4*13=52) during the year, and you’re making some real progress..
Not being _quite_ so formal here, in terms of keeping a log, but definitely trying an additive approach for habits on for size. Thinking here the advantage, as opposed to New Year’s resolutions, is you’re adding targets iteratively, rather than having a really large set that you’re bound to fall over on early on. Previous attempts to set New Year’s resolutions end up with 10 out of 13 failing within the first two months or so. This, instead, lets me succeed a bit at a time, and also then know I get three more cycles.
- Eating more healthfully: Vegetables, consumption of alcohol
- Spend time with God: Bible-reading, prayer, …
- Organization – day timer system,…
- Spend more time with family – consistent in/out time for work
You’ll see we’re in the first week of the new year: I “cheated” and started early on eating more fruits and vegetables – started the week before. With the minor scariness of having an apparent allergic reaction to a vegetarian pizza, things have gone swimmingly. I’m in week 2, working on reading the Bible each night. Chronological Bible in hand, doing a bit each evening. So far, success – this one has proved challenging for me before to sustain, though – previous attempts to read through the Bible in a year have take 2 1/2 years or more. I’m also trying out a new organization system in my Day Timer – counting this as a week 3 thing, as I’m not yet sure what the mechanics for my system are… Uh, not doing so well on getting out of work on time lately – let’s make that a habit to tackle in week 4 or so.. :-)
Advantage here: I haven’t yet determined all 13 habits. Observations on the way the year’s going can influence what habits get added in later weeks. Agile self-improvement.
January 3rd, 2013
The Christmas season is fast approaching. If you’re looking for an opportunity to spread some Christmas cheer, particularly with families who are finding it hard to make ends meet, consider contributing a toy to the New Hope Community Church Christmas store. I’ve visited their church a few times, and always been impressed by their approach and attitude to reaching out to the community. The Christmas Store is a great model: new or gently used toys of ~$10 value are made available to families for $2. That lets families shop and obtain toys at a much lower impact to their budget, allowing them to use their money in other ways more necessary for their families (food, rent, medicine, etc), while letting them still enjoy the holiday aspects of giving gifts to your kids that so many of us so look forward to. How much fun is it to select that perfect gift for a person you love and then get to anticipate their face as they open it and play with it?
Their church will hold two Christmas Store days – once in their worship center, and once in a recreation center in the Curtis Bay community. They’d like to provide for 600 children, so every gift added in counts! Look for sales at your local stores, and see what your budget can score to bring a ray of joy not just to the child who opens that package, but to their parents and extended family… This ministry grows each year – your gift will be put to good use.
Happy to serve as a gathering point for these toys, or to put you into contact with the ministry leaders organizing the drive overall. They’re also seeking gift wrapping items – paper, tape, gift bags, tissue paper. Leave me a comment with your contact info or email me directly if you have my address already: comments are moderated, so your info won’t be visible to the world.
November 14th, 2012
My womens’ rugby team, Severn River Rugby, is planning a tour of South Africa next summer! Very exciting! We’re planning to be there for two weeks, and our coach is looking at finding us three games. Doing some poking around, apparently womens’ rugby has only really been in action there since 2001. Coach took another local team, the Washington Furies, in 2004, so this then becomes a chance to introduce a new set of ladies to each other, communicating through the hard-hitting language of tackles on the field with socials off the field. We’re seeking sponsors for this trip: if you’re interested in helping encourage the growth of womens’ rugby, not only here, but internationally, please let me know.
I have other interests beyond rugby – surprise to so many who know how driven I am about getting to play my sport. If we/I am going to Africa, I’m seeking to make good use of that time and expense to do something which honors the Lord. I’ll sneak as many of our players in along with me, whether or not their personal motivations are for the Lord, for serving others, or just for checking out an interesting experience. It turns out our church is connected with a missionary family in South Africa, so reaching out there. Our coach connected me with a group called ‘Hope in South Africa’ – check out their Sundowners event this Oct 20. I’m not personally involved with the group yet, but the things I’m seeing on their site and on their Facebook page are very interesting and inspiring to read. If you’re personally aware of other areas, very interested in hearing. Again, the driver here is just that if I’m investing the time and money to go to Africa, away from other areas in life, it oughta be for more than “just” playing rugby and touring around.
October 11th, 2012
Hearing lots about the mega million jackpot today. $640 million would certainly make an impact in most folks’ bank accounts. Apparently, $640 mil is more than what most US households would earn in 10,000 years.
Your odds of winning are long. Ridiculously long. 2 hole in ones in a single golf game long. You’re more likely to be crushed to death by a vending machine or dying by being a lefty who uses right-hand products, according to the Daily Beast. But boy, wouldn’t it be nice to live like a mega millionaire?
Um, no. Not thinking so. Maybe a mini millionaire. Someone who has enough money in the bank to not worry about whether they’re covering the bills, not feeling like they’re stuck in their job, able to dream a bit and feel like they could make those dreams (travel, motorcycle, adventures, …) come true.
Mini-millionaire is easy, and a lot less dependent on 1 in 176 million odds. Live below your means. If you make 100K, live on 85-90K or less. If you make 60K, live on 45-50K, or less. Act like you’re still making the money you started your career with – no cost of living increases, no raises or promotions. What’s that do for you? It does a few things. One, you’re not stuck in what I’ve heard termed as ‘golden handcuffs’. Golden handcuffs are jobs that you have to keep because they’re the only ones that will give you the kind of salary you need to live on. You’ll keep going to a place that you don’t like, doesn’t inspire you, or otherwise give you any reason to keep going to work other than that particular paycheck number. It’s a gilded cage. It’s a demotivating cage. You’re not going to do your best work if the reason you’re still there is only pocketbook motivated. For one thing, there’s always the distraction of looking for the cage upgrade. Ones’ monetary ‘needs’ have a funny habit of growing, unless specifically kept in check, so soon enough that cage starts feeling just a bit snug.
Second, it gives you a ‘go-to-he**’ fund. It gives you money in the bank which you can use as a cushion to find a different job at any point. A guy I knew at a job a few years ago didn’t particularly like his job, but was paid at the top of the market. He ended up laid off, as top of the line salaries make you top of the line targets. The top of the line salary part wasn’t a bad thing, but his need to get a job very quickly gave him a large salary-sized problem. Contrast that with having the freedom to say: I don’t like this job. I don’t like working for you. I’m not going to do it anymore. It’s a wonderful and yes, powerful feeling, to know that you’re working for someone because you want to, not because you specifically need to. Now, there’s a difference between need to work generally, meaning at some point you need to get another job, versus never wanting to work again. Somewhat theoretical for me – having a hard time imagining myself not working at all at some point in the future, even if that work is part-time or volunteering or … My point is, since entering the workforce out of college, it’s been a goal of mine to never work somewhere just because they’re willing to pay me, even if they pay me well. And a ‘go to he**’ fund is a great tool to help that happen.
Lastly, and on the much more personally rewarding side, one of the things that millionaires often do is give lots of money away to causes they find inspiring. Warren Buffett has Girls, Inc, Bill Gates has the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie had Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Mellon, etc, etc… They write checks to help make things happen. When you live below your means, giving away money no longer is making a choice between helping yourself and helping someone else. There’s a lot more latitude there to give more freely. It hasn’t really cost you anything. Now, one can make the argument that it costs you the things that you’re otherwise not doing in your lifestyle with that excess (my term) money. Still, though, it costs you something you’re not doing, not something you are – very different dynamic.
Reading the paper this morning, someone in Maryland won one of the Mega Million lottery tickets. It’s not me, I’m certain, as I didn’t buy a ticket. Whoever won has a lot more means this morning than they did last night. It should be a bit easier to live within it. That said, there’re many lottery winners who don’t live within their means and go bankrupt, even at the tune of income of the level of millionaires. Contrast that with folks who build their habit of living within their means and become ‘The Millionaire Next Door’. Or, better, the guy who lives like a millionaire because he’s not beholden to his job and gets to give away his money to the causes that he finds near and dear. Bank account balance may or may not make him a millionaire, but he sure feels like one.
March 31st, 2012
It’s a sad day when I get more interest / $$s from my credit card rewards program than I do for saving diligently.
March 5th, 2012
Adding a few habits of late: Scrabble, Words with Friends, Pinterest… lots of things that sort of have me engaging with folks, but only in a tangential way. Lots of late work hours, so these let me kind of keep in touch / ping folks, without requiring it to be at a reasonable hour.
Statistic I’m keeping track of of late: PopTart meals. How many “meals” did I eat by grabbing PopTarts out of the kitchen at work, because I haven’t managed to break away to go get something else, and I didn’t think enough ahead to bring in a healthier lunch. Last week’s PopTart count was three, I think: some were lunch, some were dinner. Aiming to get that metric down a bit. I don’t actually even enjoy PopTarts.
You may have gathered that life has been busy, particularly the work part of life. This weekend had me home with the kids as Jason was out of town. An odd shift in thinking / scheduling. Though I’m still now up at 11:45 on a Tuesday night for no real reason – just mostly habit. Grrrr. Need better habits.
February 21st, 2012
Day 3 of iPad adventuring. After getting set up on day1, my kids started asking what games I had on it. First request was for Bejeweled (Callie). Second request was for Angry Birds (Cameron). And then they both clamored for Fruit Ninja. I blame their grandfather for the first two, and their babysitter for the third. I did download a free Angry Birds and spent too much time throwing feathered missiles at pigs. I had had a version of AB on my Android and never been impressed. On the iPad, the user experience worked a bit better – still a pain in the neck game, in my opinion. Though that hasn’t stopped me from spending too much time on it.
Did finally set up a cellular plan on the iPad. $20 / month for 1GB data. I figure if I primarily use the thing at work and at home, both have wireless connections. But the $20 gets me accessibility in other places, without relying on wireless networks that I worry may be less secure. That reminds me: I need to find some sort of virus and other network protection software for the iPad.
Having a very funny geeky weekend!
July 4th, 2011