Wednesday, August 31, 2005



Nothing makes my day like figuring out ways to save money. And I write this as I'm watching one of my stocks decline on the market today. *Grrr*

I have what faux doctors call an intentional bad memory. I tend to not retain stuff, let's call it, hard drive space in my brain. Space I want to keep available. It's not that I don't think most information isn't important, I just think I can survive without it. So I tend to forget easily to keep my brain clutter free. Driving on the computer theme, you know how on a PC running Windows, over the years, you try new programs, some good, some bad, but over time, with all of the information you've installed, the PC starts to slow down, gets bogged down by things you've wanted to try over the years then forgot about or soon realized you no practical use for. That is how I view my brain and I don't need a lot of data in there that I'm not going to use. I believe in garbage in, garbage out. So I will intentionally ignore or allow to forget stuff that I know won't be of any use to me soon after storing it.

Since I've decided to impose a bad memory for myself, in order to keep from losing my house, car or whatever else I might default on because I forgot to pay bills, I have to impose systems for me.

Systems are something I will remember not unlike the concept of a mathematician would have a need for a formula. This mathematician could memorize the sum of every number in combination with every other number in existence or he could memorize one formula to figure it out whenever he needs the answer. What I call systems are my formulas. I put my systems into place, forget everything else and wait for the savings to roll in.

For example, I have a cell phone. I have my anytime minutes and my night time and weekend minutes. I also have a program on my cell plan that enables my phone with Internet access. I love my net access on the go. I have to have it and when you hear me say I have to have something, that means, it saves and/or makes me money. Think I'm greedy? Not if you know what money truly represents, but that is another topic for another day.

Now I am not hurting financially, but if you can save and not knock yourself out doing it, why not do it? I looked at my cell phone plans and for six years, I've been paying for unlimited net access at $10 a month. So I started to wonder, how much of that unlimited time do I actually use? Infinite time at $10 a month is quite a bargain, sure, but I don't even come close to using infinite time on this plan. Not even a fraction of a fraction of infinite. So I was curious how much a per minute rate would cost me. It turns out it's a per kilobyte cost of one penny per kilobyte. Well how many kilobytes do I use on average? I found out that I use about $5 per month's worth. As high as $7 one month but as low as $3 another month. $5 a month? That's $5 savings. I'll take it. So I dropped the unlimited plan and went with the rate. Now I'm done with that. I don't ever have to think about it again and it only cost me a little bit of time, something I'll make back in the first month of savings.

Was I hurting by spending $10 a month? Did my child starve? Was I evicted from my house? Did I have a long history of bouncing checks? No. But my formula says if it's cheaper and especially if it doesn't put you out, take what's behind door number two and implement those savings baby! If I had implemented this six years ago and assuming my usage always averaged $5 per month, that would've saved me $360. It adds up.

Another example of this. Thanks to my cell phone, a couple of years ago I started to wonder why I needed a land line? I mean, I essentially had two phones and hardly even use one. It's actually closer to zero. Through most of my life, I use near zero phones. So I wondered, what would happen if I dropped the land line? It's blasphemy right? I mean people have always had phones since dinosaurs rules the earth. It's still a marvel of a technology to most. People struggle to keep their phone line active on a regular basis. They're convinced they can't live without it because it's always been that way and cell phones, well that's just something you use when you're not at home worshiping your phone shrine. And they may feel they can't live without phone service. Well I can live without it and a couple of years ago, we dropped our land line service, relying strictly on our cells and let me tell you, we have not missed it one bit. I got to save $40/month there. In almost two years, I've saved a cool grand and counting. Done thinking about that. Good times. Pass the pina colada.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that most people don't think like this. They don't know they need a system. They don't know to take stock of what they have and throw out what they don't need. Some are ok with wasting money. I've already admitted I would be just fine if I wasted money. But why? The little bit I save adds up over years and though I may never realize it or be able to trace the source of it, it literally makes me richer. But I don't have to know where it comes from. It's automatic. My brain has that valuable real estate that I don't want to store junk in. I just need the resident systems I've developed to take care of me and it does. I save me money? That's good enough for me. Keep it up.

At the risk of going off topic, many people waste money on things they just don't need. I mean absolutely don't need. All things are relative, but if you have absolutely no use for it, get rid of it, especially if it's costing you. It's hard for people to imagine life without that it, like the phone example, but you have to take the risk.

Realize this, you could be housed in a cardboard box living in gutters on the street, and you will be ok. Most of you will survive, you might even find some happiness with no responsibility, no one relying on you, no stress so life may even be good for you. If you can do that, take a quick spin around where you live and know that everything that your eye saw, you can live without. Now start taking inventory of the things you can live without and get rid of it. It will actually improve your mood. Material items weigh on your conscience. It's just another thing to take care of. Think of it as having children. Each item you own is a child that needs to be cared for. Guess what, you're running a foster home. Do your best to keep things to a minimum, donate that child to charity or sell it in a garage sale and it will save you tons financially not to mention mentally.

You might think I'm a bit obsessive about money. Obsession is an unhealthy amount of time devoted to one thing or idea. First of all, I don't see how saving money is ever unhealthy, second of all, I no more devote my time or my thoughts to this than you might thinking about what to have for lunch. Once you're trained in this style of thinking, it becomes that system, then it's automatic for the people. Just remember to be (shiny) happy (people). Possessions don't make you happy. They are indeed fleeting. People make you happy. You're people too, so this includes you. You can get happy from self satisfaction of your contribution in the world. (Man, I got way off topic, but that's the beauty of a journal) Your contribution supplies your need for self actualization (Research Maslow on this).

An exercise I like to do frequently is picture what the world would be like if everyone were like me. Besides it being a boring with nothing new happening and a certain bout of extinction setting in because adaptation to changing environment is lost, what kind of an effect would my personality times six billion have on life? If the answer scares you, you're not happy. If you think the answer is awesome, you're in denial. Feeling the need to contribute positively to those around you is rooted in taking responsibility. If you don't deal well with taking responsibility for your actions, you're not gonna get it. This is what it means to give and you shall receive.

Anyway, a post of this ilk was long over due. Also, the monthly snapshot has been MIA for awhile. Here it is.

DJI 10387, NASDAQ 2129, SP5 1207

#1 Movie at the box office:
40 Year Old Virgin

Last movie I saw at the theater:
Batman Begins

Last movie(s) I saw not at the theater:
Immortel (dvd)
Kung Fu Hustle (dvd)
Sin City (dvd)
A few from James Bond marathon (tv)

Books I'm currently reading:
Speaking of Liberty by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Albums (cd/mp3) I'm listening to:
Audioslave - Out of Exile
Richard Cheese - Aperitif for Destruction
Velver Revolver - Contraband
Gorillaz - Demon Days
Black Eyes Peas - Elephunk
Lot of trance/techno

Video games I'm playing:
Resident Evil 4 (Looooove this game)
Empire Earth
Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Halflife 2
Halo 2

Price I'm paying for gas:
$2.50/gallon. ($42 to fillup)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The government sells security and the best way to sell security is to create insecurity.

It Was A Jungle Out There

It Was A Jungle Out There

After over a couple of weeks of neglecting it, I finally got around to mowing my back yard and boy, were the nested swamp bugs pissed. They came flying out in full attack mode like bats out of cave. The grass was so tall, the mower was choking. To look at the yard now, it looks like a field of hay and I keep thinking a tractor pulling a baler is going to plow through.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Peaceful, Relaxing, Gory Video Games

Peaceful, Relaxing, Gory Video Games

Since I finished Grant Theft Auto: San Andreas, which is now a collector's item thanks to the recent ratings change based on newly discovered content I can't access anyway, I resumed my Resident Evil 4 game. I think I got about 1/3 of the way through the game until San Andreas was released then I got sidetracked for a couple of months with carjacking, pimping, mass killing, gambling - basically being a virtual entrepreneur.

Note to self, don't play a horror game with excellent graphics right around bed time. The night time setting of the living room is a nice environment to play a great scary game but the side effect is that your blood is pumping, you're edgy, jumpy, sometimes cowering, sometimes crying and when you're done for the night, good luck getting right to sleep.

Friday, August 05, 2005

10 reasons why people can't let go of their government

10 reasons why people can't let go of their government

Article written by Michael S. Rozeff.
The full article, Reflections on the State can be found at

1. Error of identification. People long to be identified as something, an American or a Frenchman or a Russian. These are matters of nation, country, society, custom, language, group, religion, culture, not State. Yet in many people’s minds, they merge. The State comes to represent what a person is. The State gains loyalty by blurring the lines between itself, country and society. Patriotism, a love of country, overlaps with love of State.

2. Error of attribution. People make the logical error of attributing progress achieved by the country to the State: Cum hoc, ergo propter hoc. If a horse wins a race despite a 5-pound handicap, it wins despite the extra weight not because of it.

3. Illusion of order. People fear anarchy. They think that the power of the State to suppress and keep order is better than exposure to unnamed and unseen anarchic forces. Fear of one’s fellow man sows the seeds of support of the State. This solution to the problem of order is an illusion that is based on contradiction, however. If one fears men, and the rulers are men, then the rulers are also to be feared. In fact, the State to whom one gives such great power is even more to be feared. There is no security of life when one turns one’s life over to one’s jailer.

4. Illusion of security. People want security, insurance against the trials of life, a father that is there to feed and house them when they have troubles. It is illusion to think that the State can provide comfort. The State has no resources of its own, so it must draw them from the citizens themselves. In the process, much waste occurs, insecurity of rights is fostered, and the overall productivity of the people is reduced. In its external relations, which are frequently aggressive, the State wastes still more resources. Hence, the State makes people less secure.

5. Vicarious pleasure. Many identify with the State’s power. They feel good when the State uses its power. Death and destruction do not bother them. They like the idea of wars and armies marching, big tanks, missiles and rockets, and space ships flying to the moon. If the State is a superpower, all the better.

6. Hunger for power and wealth. Many people benefit from the State. Perhaps they rule, or gain subsidies or laws that favor them.

7. Philosophy. There are those like Hegel who justify the State and replace God with the State.

8. Miscalculation. Many people think the State is a good deal. These people can’t count or calculate. They give up $1 and get back $0.80 and do not know it. Sometimes they underestimate the costs they bear now and in the future. Sometimes they overestimate the benefits. Of course, the State does what it can to help them miscalculate.

9. Hope. This is a kind of misplaced faith. People irrationally hope and believe that the State’s power will ameliorate various evils, usually in a social context. When the State’s programs fail, these people are incapable of analyzing the reason for the failure because of the complexity of social situations and because of their biased hopes.

10. Gullibility and propaganda. The State encourages illusions about its powers and abilities.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Transformation Of A Country

Transformation Of A Country

As I read about the rioting in the Sudan capital, I wonder why it doesn't happen in this country. The answer is, material possessions. The market has improved the quality of our lives and we've collected a lot of crap in the process. Crap we don't want to give up so we don't dare risk it by taking a fight to the streets, even when it might be warranted to do so. What do the Sudanese have? Hope. They fight for that.

This country used to be like that. We had nothing, we fought for an idea. At some point, we achieved our goal and then some and effectively crossed the threshold to go from struggling to bullying just so we can get more stuff. What we have now is not enough. The aggression never got turned off. Why should it? It's in our nature.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Happy Half Birthday

Happy Half Birthday

Good times, great life. Baby Lock celebrates her life as a six month old today. Happy Half Birthday my daughter.

She's very energetic, vibrant, attentive. Everything in her immediate surrounding is fascinating. When she's studying
something, she'll stick half a fist in her mouth while she contemplates the object.

She laughs quite a bit, fusses a little when it's time to eat or time to sleep. She doesn't like to sit down, she always has to be standing up, with help of course. Baby Lock is adept at rolling over now, from back to stomach, stomach to back.

She has a few favorite toys. A green plastic ring shaped like a bug (I think it's a bug?) that normally hangs on a strap on another toy. She'll pull it off and carry it with her, slobber all over it. Another favorite which isn't a toy is one of the remote controls. I took the batteries out of it and it's for the VCR, a device we don't use anymore. Whenever I want to cheer her up, all I have to do is present the remote and she goes into a giggling fit, struggling to snatch it from my hands. Since she has a couple of teeth beginning to poke through her lower gums, she likes gumming (chewing) the buttons on it. I can hear the rubber squeak against her proto-teeth.