Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blank: So How Do I Back Up Now?

Ran across a blog posts moaning the fact that CDs and DVDs are designed to degrade—especially the ones you burn. Well, that was my plan for saving copies of my story files as well as transferring my bulky video collection to something more streamlined. It’s all well and good to say it should al be digital and online with a sneer, but that has issues too.

I’m honestly trying not to be twitchy about it, but buying a flash drive for every story is out of the budget—as well as a dedicated harddrive even though the price has been dropping on those. Not that I think anyone will actually be interested in what I wrote in 1988, but it’s part of my personal history along with digital pictures and etc. I don’t want to lose it because of some jerk deciding it was an easier way to make money.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Number Crunching 142

Quicken Cash Flow = 509.86
STEF Total = 75.69

December Budget Meeting

Reconciling Quicken with bank statements: Reconciled so far. And it looks like I’m ending this month in the black.

Reconciling last month’s budget: I hate the spreadsheets. Why is it always crazily off balance at the end of the month? After it balanced last week! Okay, found one of the problems, I voided two payments that I had listed in Quicken because they were automatic payments but they ended up not getting paid. And it looks like that never got noted in my spreadsheet.
Problem categories:
  • Eating Out
  • Miscellaneous – actually I think this amount was spent in the vending machines for the past two months, but I should be keeping better check.

Did-good-with categories:
  • Gasoline – saved money there.
  • Bank charges – could come down much more but this was only because of ATM fees at least.

Verdict: All in all, I’m really satisifed this month, despite the minor heart attack not getting things to balance when I got started. The leftover amount will be divided between what I have in cash, a cushion to leave in the checking account, and an installment to the STEF fund.
Leftover amount = 103.49

Creating next month’s budget: Creating next month’s budget also starts with creating next year’s budget. My first step is using the Quicken reports of what I spent last year. That done, I make sure that the budgeted amounts are covered by my paycheck.

January is going to be a I-must-watch-like-a-hawk month. I have three paychecks coming in, but I have three overdue bills to pay and have to make sure that the first bills in February get paid too. Good news, I’m predicting that I can pay for my yard work and pay off one of the overdue bills.

How much cash can I have: $55 for all shopping for the month.

Automatic payments: = So now, I’m off to set up my reoccurring bills in bill payer. Okay, I think I have those set up correctly, but I’ll be checking each week to make sure.

Your Money or Your Life Monthly Exercises: I have spent hours getting the money amounts right. I have no energy left to do this step. I promise I will get better in 2009.

Reviewing short-term savings goals: With the leftover amount and the amount I didn’t transfer away from my easy access savings account, I was able to add $195.10 to the STEF. That brings the balance in $270.79. Only $1931.21 to go.

Update NetworthIQ statements:

Update NCN Savings Chart:

Overview and plans:
  • Look out for the last paycheck statement for the LASERs year-to-date contribution amount
  • Update NetworthIQ when I get the December balance for Roth IRA.
  • Recalculate my real hourly rate
  • Start rereading Your Money or Your Life
  • Cook next Sunday and pack lunches.
  • Use the free ATMs

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Monday, December 22, 2008

Today Starts The Week Off So Well

Woke up late. And where I have been worried about my cycle ever going back to normal, this month decided to make up for all the weird months I've had. And to top it all off, I have either a nasty virus that is rebooting the computer whenever I go to bed or a failing hard disk.

I tried to set up a free account this morning, but something went wrong with the download portion. And I think I need to upgrade to the unlimited account to have a full back up before I start figuring out what has gone wrong. I don't officially know if it's the beginning of hard drive failure, but that has come up twice in the Windows analysis of what happened when it has happened on me twice now.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

How many have I seen?

This is the list of the top 100 grossing movies of all time. Bold what you've seen.

Titanic (1997)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
Shrek 2 (2004)
E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
Spider-Man (2002)
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
Finding Nemo (2003)
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Forrest Gump (1994)
The Lion King (1994)
Shrek the Third (2007)
Transformers (2007)
Iron Man (2008)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
Independence Day (1996)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Home Alone (1990)
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Meet the Fockers (2004)
Shrek (2001)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
The Incredibles (2004)
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Jaws (1975)
I Am Legend (2007)
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Batman (1989)
Night at the Museum (2006)
Men in Black (1997)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Cars (2006)
Bruce Almighty (2003)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Twister (1996)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
War of the Worlds (2005)
Cast Away (2000)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Signs (2002)
Hancock (2008)
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Rush Hour 2 (2001)
WALL·E (2008)
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
King Kong (2005)
Ghost (1990)
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Aladdin (1992)

Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
X2: X-Men United (2003)
Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)
Back to the Future (1985)

300 (2006)
Wedding Crashers (2005)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Ratatouille (2007)
Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
Batman Begins (2005)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Mummy Returns (2001)
Armageddon (1998) - though I still regret it
Superman Returns (2006)
Gone With the Wind (1939)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Happy Feet (2006)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
Madagascar (2005)
Toy Story (1995)
Men in Black II (2002)

Gladiator (2000)
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

69 out of 100, if I counted correctly.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, December 19, 2008

Number Crunching 141

Quicken Cash Flow = 1721.81
STEF Total = 75.69

Enter receipts into Quicken: Done.

Reconcile Quicken to online accounts: Reconciled.

Add totals to spreadsheet: Done.

What did I accomplish during the week? The roof guys actually came back and finished the back side of my house. But I still have a leak on the back porch. My father ended up paying the remainder I owed them for my Christmas present, since I had spent that money on something else at this point.

Your Money or Your Life Exercise: I need to recalculate my real hourly rate since I have gotten a raise since I last did those calculations.

Plans for next week:
  • Recalculate my real hourly rate.
  • Set up 2009 budget.
  • Go back to Your Money or Your Life.
  • Cook food and eat at home.
  • Use free ATMs.
  • Don’t avoid bookkeeping.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

I Hate It When I Can't get Started

Son of a bitch! Here it is 6:52am, and I paused at Walker to order breakfast in my mad rush to get to work on time, when I just remembered I have to go to Dr. Miller's this morning for an appointment. I signed a leave slip yesterday and everything. *Head steering wheel*

Well, the good news is I can duck into Wal-Mart and see if I can buy anything to encourage my cycle to behave normally. And I can go finish the budget and writing stuff I didn't get to do this morning because I woke up late and in a rush to get out the door.

I know my goal was to use up all the purse-sized paper before buying any more notebooks, especially Moleskin notebooks but I really hate how this lays against the steering wheel and trying to write in it with the big rings. I just plain hate it. What in the hell possessed me to buy it and loose-leaf to fit it years ago?

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Feeling Like I'm A Day Behind

I'm changing my writing hour to thirty minutes because I can't seem to get to my Faulkner and Beloved hours the way the schedule is now. Not to mention chores. :p

the chores aren't too bad right now but the point is I don't want to have to do a massive cleaning up at one time to catch up. Keep up, no catch up is new mantra. Course if I start getting up on time that will go a long way to having enough time.

I seem to be moving along a pretty good clip today. I caught up on writing life posts in Blank, metric posts in DUF, and I even finished the rough draft of a new tutorial. Which I hope means I'm going to finally get time this weekend to update websites. *Crossing fingers* I'm also hoping I get home at a decent time to finish up some other projects.

I didn't do too badly. Finished Faulkner and Beloved hours. Probably went to bed too late, but sometimes that can't be helped.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, December 12, 2008

Number Crunching 140

Quicken Cash Flow = 1309.12
STEF Total = 75.69

Enter receipts into Quicken: Done.

Reconcile Quicken to online accounts: Reconciled.

Add totals to spreadsheet: Done.

What did I accomplish during the week? I’m slowly getting the office together to do all my work in, bookkeeping and writing. Now if only I could straighten out the computer snarls.

Your Money or Your Life Exercise: I still haven’t picked up this book since I had to add grad exam studying into the schedule again.

Plans for next week:
  • Use the free ATMs.
  • Cook food and eat at home.
  • Don’t avoid bookkeeping.
  • Go back to Your Money or Your Life.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Graduate Exam Take 2

Me flunked take one. So I get to retake it in the Spring.

Not really shocked or horrified. Disappointed is a fair assessment of my emotional state. I asked for the readers (graders) response, so I can figure out how to approach it in take two.

This also means I'm going to have to add in an hour of Beloved reading along with the hour of Faulkner reading. Though at some point the Faulkner reading has to become Faulkner writing. *Raspberry*

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snowstorm Jack 2008

The DJs on WJBO named this storm “Jack.” The last time we saw snow like this was 1988 (three inches accumulated).

I woke up late this morning to rain, and figured the snow didn’t happened for me. By the time I dressed and was going to head out, I didn’t hear rain on my tin roof anymore. WWL was saying “snow!” I opened the door and gasped. Snowflakes falling in the black before sunrise.

Best comments from callers: “Saints are guaranteed to win tonight.” (They didn’t.) “It’s raining grits.”

They didn’t close I-12 or my job, so I started in. I stopped at Livingston and checked the COOP. Still open. Stopped to buy lunch and breakfast in Walker. Still open, but the snow is piling up in insane amounts. And I didn’t reach Walker until I around 7am. I left home at 5:50am. This trip under normal conditions usually takes 20 – 40 minutes.

Now it’s 8am and I haven’t reached Denham Springs yet. I called in, one of my coworkers made it in and I said I was turning around—once I got somewhere I can turn around at.

Last night, they were telling us “no accumulation.” State offices are still open, but all bridges into Baton Rouge are closed.

I’m switching my car radio between WWL and WJBO as I wait in traffic. *Jaw drop* It’s snowing in CBD of New Orleans. That’s Poydros, that’s the Superdome, that’s further south than I am!

8:20am – Finally got off at Denham Springs and the snow has changed to ice.

8:25am – Finally got on eastbound I-12 to go home at 45 mph.

9:00am – Made it home. Found the driveway thanks to slush puddles. You can hear limbs snapping and transformers popping all around us. We already lost power. Mustard doesn’t like the big flakes falling from the sky. He ran back into the house and got under the covers on the bed.

I lost two more sections of the cedar tree, but they avoided falling on the house.

10am – Measured snowfall with a six-inch ruler.

Unfortunately, power is still out and that means I can’t do a lot of things on my to do list.

2pm – After just bitchin’ about the dishes, I go them all done. I needed to do something between Faulkner reading sessions and I could heat water on the stove. So dishes got elected.

4pm – Still no power. I wish I had washed my hair when I woke up this morning and had power with hot water.

5:40pm – The sane thing to do would be go to bed. I can’t do anything I feel itching at me in the dark with no power, which is a feeling beyond suck. Plus my head hurts from two hours of reading Faulkner.

I don’t know what to do about work tomorrow, but if I don’t have power, what can I do? I called COOP; they closed the building at 9:30am and didn’t say anything about reopening.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Err, crossing things off the list should happen at some point

If I ever manage to participate in NaNo again, it will be because the rest of my life has burnt to a crisp.

I have caught up on nothing. Nothing, I tell you. At this point, I’m seriously going to look in a rent-to-own business and see if they have a portable dishwasher to rent. One week and the pile at the sink would be gone. Then I’d just need to keep up.

*Raspberry* Yes, I know that’s what I tell myself every time I let the dishes pile up on me. I hate washing dishes. I hate forcing myself to do it.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

And I’m Gonna Find a Shiny, Happy Medium Where?

It’s a new experiment to see what I will cave faster on and actually finish: budget or dishes or empty the inbox? Right now they are equally behind and disgusting.

I just want to be able to keep up by doing a little everyday. Why is that such an impossible concept to grasp?

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, December 05, 2008

Number Crunching 139

Quicken Cash Flow = 1591.42
STEF Total = 75.69

Enter receipts into Quicken: Done.

Reconcile Quicken to online accounts: Reconciled.

Add totals to spreadsheet: Done.

What did I accomplish during the week? I found Atticus’s Christmas present, hardback boxed set of Lord of the Rings normally priced at $65 on sale for $14.95.

Your Money or Your Life Exercise: Cripes, I don’t even remember where I left off. When things calm down, I have to go back to the exercises.

Plans for next week:
  • Use the free ATMs.
  • Cook food and eat at home.
  • Don’t avoid bookkeeping.
  • Go back to Your Money or Your Life.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Return to what passes for normal around here... I think

So NaNo is over, graduate exam is over, November is over. After the graduate exam yesterday, I spent the rest of the day in a recovery fog that still hasn't lifted completely.

Oh and just because I can.

One thing I learned that I didn't put on my list at Discipline Under Fire--my writing is more important than graduating. I didn't get my reading materials together until Sunday afternoon November 30th. And instead of stopping and reading for the test, I finished NaNo and then read. I didn't finish all the articles and there was no memory of titles or authors when it came to the exam itself. But then I NEVER remember titles and authors, I have to constantly refer to the source material when I write. :p

It did strike me that I was nuts to bounce between the two at some point that night (because I would spend fifteen minutes writing and then fifteen minutes writing), and I went straight back to writing. And it's true what I told my fellow exam takers, I want the Masters' but my career doesn't depend on it. I'm not continuing for a Ph.D., I'm not leaving state employment unless they make me and they don't care what I have degree-wise, and nobody in the publishing industry is going to care either.

And if you think this realization helped my stress levels at all, you are sadly mistaken.

That aside, I still want to wear the goofy robe and march down the aisle. I want to give my coworkers an announcement and hopefully get paid back for what I've given to their kids graduations. I've put in some hard work and I will enjoy it.

We all came out of the exam feeling we had been set up for a massive fail. If we do fail, we have another shot at it in the spring semester with the same reading material. Granted, I accept the fact that I handicapped myself in the reading. But that's not why I feel like I burned. I blame that on the methodology of the exam. You have to read the chosen novel and a dozen chosen critical articles about the novel. Then they ask you an essay question about the novel and you need to support your answer with at least three critical articles. But you can't bring any materials in with you. No copies of the articles are provided either. You have to remember everything about them to answer a question that you had no idea about when you read the material. After spending so many years writing papers with everything in front of you.

Epic fail might be a stress-induced exaggeration, but unfairly slanted isn't. I wouldn't have been able to remember names and titles, even if I could recite the articles. I find out what the outcome is next week. How I would fix it. Give us all semester to read the materials. A week before the exam, okay here's the question now chose your supporting articles, but no pre-writing. Then you can bring in the bibliography with your articles marked off and that's it for the two hours of exam writing time.

So now is the time to pull together all the other projects and figure out what to do when.

Websites need to be updated. Writing projects need to moved on to. House projects need to be budgeted for. ... I'm exhausted just thinking about that little bit. *Sigh*

Read Free!
The BookWorm