That was the week: August 31st through September 6th

The week started pretty boring and normal.

Wasn’t until Thursday that anything interesting happened. The day began with an half day meeting for work. It wasn’t unbearable and I survived. Later in the day I experienced a phenomenon I’ve been privy too many times. Another meeting was going on in the afternoon and they had catered in a nice spread of food for the attendees when the meeting ended. A couple of people were outside watching over the food and directing people. In came a student. One of the people asked  her if she is there for the meeting. She responded, “Nope just passing through”.  She then saw the food spread grabbed  a plate, and piled it with food. The guy started clearing his throat really loudly trying to get her attention. She ignored him and just walked out with her plate a food. About twenty minutes later another student comes by.  The person guarding the food asks him if he is there for the meeting. The student said no and then tried to take some of the food. The attendant told him rather forcefully that he couldn’t have any. The student stomped off all angry as if he had some right to other peoples food. Probably the twentieth or thirtieth time I’ve seen that. I really don’t understand what it is about students that they think they can just take food.

Later that night I watched the 2006 direct to video Steven Seagal masterpiece Shadow Man.  I put the movie on my netflix queue specifically because of the following clip:

Any movie with a scene that bad has to be worth watching. Actually that was by far the worst part of the movie.  I would call it overall watchable if you happen to like stupid action movies.

The Illini football season was set to begin on Friday. I walked down to the Buffalo Lard Wings to give it a watch. On my way there I noticed a storm forming not far in the north. An odd weather event occurred.  A lightning filled downpour producing thunderstorm formed directly over Champaign/Urbana and then just stayed there. I checked the weather app at one point and it said the storm was moving at 10 miles per hour. I run faster than that storm was moving.

Speaking of weather this week has been extremely hot and the AC on my car has decided to not work so well lately.  It blows really cool for about ten minutes and then peters out. Since the weather report says there will only be one more really hot day I am hoping to make it until next year to get it fixed.

I sold a bunch of old board game on ebay that I had had since I was in highschool.  Got over three hundred dollars for them.  Turns out I will need the money since I got charged two overdraft fees on one of my checking accounts on the same day.  Turns out I had some charges in holding or some such nonsense. So when I checked my balance it looked like I had plenty of money when in reality not so much.

A New Year and a new plan

Any readers left from my old blog might remember several years ago when I tried to live on $100 for a month.  Well to kick off my year of fiscal responsibility and freeing myself from credit card debt I am doing it again this January. What does living on $100 mean? What will I be paying for?  Obviously, rent and other standard reoccurring bills (mobile phone etc) do not count against the $100. Out of the amount I have to pay for food, entertainment, gas etc.

Just like last year I will be cheating.  I have a bunch of gift cards I got for Christmas. I filled up with gas on the 31st and I have a nice stack of video games to play for entertainment.  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

A little birdie told me that the Slackers Guide to Life project might just be restarted.  Stay tuned to this space for more info.

Rich , happy, and free part2

Remember our mystery quote: “I am happy as long as I am healthy, and I am rich as long as I am not in debt.” In part one I talked a little bit about health.  Here in part two I plan to try and give some specific help with finances.
I might have mentioned it in the past but I used to “write” a self help blog called the Slackers Guide to Life.   I still own the domain it just redirects here.  I put write in quotes because I almost never actually wrote anything on it. I divided the effort into a few categories.  One of the only categories at which I had any success was money.  So let me share some of my limited wisdom.
So you are drowning in credit card debt and only making minimum payments.  You make good money but never seem to have enough. The first thing you have to figure out is where all your money is going. I I don’t recommend jumping instantly into trying to budget and save money.  Take one month to determine how you are sabotaging you finances.  You need to record every purchase of any kind you make.  There are apps to help with this.  I currently use mint to track my budget and all my spending. But when I started I actually found it better to do so with just  a notebook. I recorded the date, the amount, and what I purchased. Once the month finished I went back to the list.  You can break the expenditures into as many categories as you want.  I went with a simple systems.  I grabbed a red highlighter and marked outlays that weren’t good for me or were unnecessary as bad. The rest were acceptable.  
When I finished I totaled everything up.  I was shocked to find that my bad outlays were almost twice as much as the good.  Be cutting out some of the bad things I could literally save hundreds a month. So I recommend trying this for one month to start.

A Series of Disasters

Recently life has been beset but what are a mostly comical series of disasters.

The man gets his money

The day I went to go see the Peter Frampton concert, I opened the mailbox to a very large envelope in the mail. Along the return address were the words so many American fear, Internal Revenue Service. With more anger than fear I ripped open the envelope.  Hadn’t they taken enough? They clearly didn’t think so.  I had a bill for more money.  I didn’t have time that day to check to see if their calculations were correct.  I did go through my records later and realize they were probably right.  After a short consultation with a nice woman from the IRS I realized I would have to pay.. Grrr

Never look a gift horse in the worn out gasket

You all remember the free clothes washer I got a month or so back. After my fifth or sixth load I walked into the small utility room the put the clothes in the dryer and promptly slid across the floor. The floor was covered in about a glasses worth of water.  I turned off the water to the washer and mopped up the floor.  I checked and it looked liked one of the ancient hoses was leaking a little. About  a week or so later I finally bought some new hoses and installed them.  I put a load of laundry in  and I waited in the utility room as the washer did it’s job.  I am alarmed to here a splashing sound as water starts leaking out of the bottom of the washer.  I turn the water off at the hoses and start trying to figure out what is wrong with the thing.  It eventually stops leaking and I manage to get the washer through the cycle. Checking online it sounds like I might have a bad agitator gasket.  I am not going to pay someone to fix a twenty year old washer I got for free.  So I’ve begun the process of taking apart the washer myself if I can see what is wrong with it. 

Who needs level pictures anyway

I have been wanting to get some shots with my camera trying out a new idea of mine.  For this I wanted to have the camera on my tripod.  I went outside and pulled the lever to release one of the legs. Oh it released alright.  It fell right out of the socket and clattered to the ground.  I couldn’t believe it. I tried to fit the leg back into the socket when another leg fell off.  Finally the middle piece dislodged and bits of broken plastic cascaded to the cement.  Seeing as I was standing about ten feet from a dumpster I picked up the mess and tossed it in.

 You get what you pay for lesson 3

I needed to put a new item on my wall so I had to drill a few pilot holes for the drywall anchors.  I dragged out my old cordless drill.  Being me I had purchased the cheapest one on offer a few years ago.  I plugged the battery into the charger and was greeted by the familiar red light indicating charging. I went off to do some stuff while it charged. Upon my return I was met with the smell of burning electronics and the charging light was dead.  The wall charger almost burned my hand when I yanked it out of the wall to stop a fire from starting.  Needless to say the battery was not charged and the drill is useless.  I never liked that drill anyway.

TMI WARNING you probably don’t want to read this!.. who knew cats could get constipated.


I had noticed that my fuzzy little ball of annoyance seemed to be more unhappy than usual. Also I watched him several times try to use the litter box without success.   I planned to take him to the vet the next day.  I didn’t need to. I was met the next morning with a nice pile of cat poop.. .in the middle of the living room.  My worries that he would stop using his box were unfounded as he spent the next couple of weeks happily regular.  But that didn’t last.  He was exhibiting the same signs as before.  I called the vet and got some advice on what I could do.  I came home from work and again could stop worrying.  This time the giant poop pile was in the bed.  I warned you not to read this 🙂

If you want to know what advice I got it was to start feeding him some canned gooshy food and had a tablespoon or two of pumpkin to it.  He loves his new dinners and eats up all the pumpkin.  Important warning: make sure to buy plain canned pumpkin NOT the stuff for pumpkin pie.  Cats cannot digest sugar and it quickly will cause feline diabetes. Note I am not a veterinarian and you should not do anything I’ve said. 

I wonder how many posts on blogger have  “constipated cat” as a label?  No I am not going to check.