Monday, April 29, 2013

Doing a financial experiment...

I know a lot of people who don't save money and I used to be one of them.  About 7wks. ago I decided to attempt saving some money.  I'm sort of one of those people who didn't think they had money to save.  But, after paying off the majority of my medical bills (from my hip surgery) I saw that I do have money I could be saving each month.  It's not a lot of money, but it is something.
Here's the breakdown of my experiment:
I get paid around $250-$300 a week.
For those who need assistance, that's $1000-$1200 a month (roughly).
I decided that a decent amount would be $50 a week...I still need groceries and I have to leave room the medical bills I still need to pay and wants.
So, for you non math geniuses out there it adds up to $2400 after a year.
So far I have $350 in my savings that's 7wks. (1 month and 3 weeks.)
So far I am on track and at my goal. 

Now, as far as what I'm going to use that money for...I have no clue.  I've thought about going on a vacation, but I hate the idea of going someplace alone for safety reasons.  Plus I can't even figure out where I'd want to go.  I'm not a beach person-too much sand and salt...bad for the skin.  I'd go to Disney, but I can't decide between Land or World.  I go to Cali, but I'm afraid I'd want to stay.  I might try Quebec (Canada), but it's a foreign country and my French is rusty.  I'd go to a day spa, but I don't like strange people touching me.   
I've thought about buying a whole new wardrobe, but I don't like buying stuff that's too trendy...I'm happy with my basics and items which have stood the test of time (Most of what I own is at least 2-5yrs. old.)
I've thought about redecorating, but if I ever move out of the motel it'll just be stuff I have to pack and take with me, when I'd rather leave it all and purchase new.
I've thought about going back to school for a semester and taking an accounting course and maybe an education course.  But both courses would have to be on my days off.  
I have decided that a certain percentage will go to a charity...Hope For Hannah; a rescue organization.  They helped me by fostering Sophie.
Most likely I'll donate the percentage to Hope For Hannah and just keep it all in the bank and add to it.
I'm one of those weird people who, if they see that they have money they're either afraid to touch it or they go on a spending spree.

So far I've done really well.  Last week I took $50 out of savings to go to the mall and spent $35 of it.
I replaced that $35 and added the regular $50 that afternoon when my paycheck was deposited into my account.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

ZzzQuil...Not worth the money...

For some time now I’ve had trouble staying asleep.  I’ve had no issues with falling asleep…in the middle of the night/early morning I’ll wake up a few times and it takes me up to 3-4hrs. to get back to sleep.  So for all you math geniuses out there I’ve broken it down.
If I fall asleep at 11PM and wake up at 2AM I’ve slept for 3hrs.
Let’s say that I stay awake from that 2AM wake up until 5AM. 
I have to be at work at 9:30AM and it takes me at least an hour to get ready…most of that hour is procrastination. 
So I’ve had 3hrs of sleep and can now get another 3.5hrs…6.5hrs of sleep which is okay. 
But I wake up at 6AM and can’t get back to sleep until about 8AM…30mins before my alarm clock goes off. 
Okay so that’s 3hrs plus 1hr plus 30 minutes.  Yeah that’s less than 5hrs.  Not good.
So I decided to try that ZzzQuil stuff.  At first I thought it was some type of gag put out by a humor company or something from an SNL skit that someone put on the market as a joke to see how many people would buy it…still waiting for RedBull PM to hit the market by the way.  It took me a while to try this stuff though…I’m not really into drugging myself to sleep and I didn’t want to feel out of it or drowsy the next day. 
The normal side-affects I have to medications which induce sleeping are: drowsy, foggy, out of it feeling with a minor headache and minor dry mouth the next day.  So I normally don’t take medications such as NyQuil, Benadryl, AlkaSeltzer or anything else which may induce sleep, unless I’m sick or have an allergic reaction to something. 
I’m not a fan of liquid medications.  Yes, the liquid is cheaper…but I’m a gel cap person.  I prefer not to taste the medication and then run around looking for something to kill the after taste!  No, Marry Poppins a spoonful of sugar does NOT help the medicine go down!  I got the pack of 24 gel caps.  The main ingredient in the gel caps is Diphenhydramine, which you can find in NyQuil or Benadryl…or any other sleep inducing medication.  There’s nothing that special about ZzzQuil. 
I tried the medicine on Wednesday night, expecting the usual occurance; I’d take half the dose…one gel cap and fall asleep within 30mins and be knocked out until morning.  Nope.  I took half the dosage and it took me about 2hrs. to fall asleep.  So around 1AM I got tired of waiting for the medication to kick in and just closed my eyes.  That did the trick.  Once asleep I stayed asleep but the next day I felt drowsy and out of it.  I figured that maybe I just didn’t get enough hours of sleep and the medication hadn’t worn off.  So last night I did pretty much the same thing.  I took one gel cap, had my tea and then closed my eyes and slept.  The medication doesn’t seem to knock me out automatically the way NyQuil or Benadryl does which is good to a certain extent.  Granted I only took half the dose…so maybe if I were to take the full dose it would knock me out.  But I RARELY take the full dose of any sleep inducing medication because I will be out for a week.  But ZzzQuil keeps me asleep, which is what I wanted it to do and what it was advertised as being able to do.  So on that note I am happy with the product. 
I decided to take the other half of the dose last night and I closed my eyes within 30mins of taking the medication.  I woke up once during the night only because Sadie, my mini-doxie decided to jump down and get a drink of water and then whine to be put back on the bed.  But other than that I stayed asleep.  Then this morning my alarm went off and I reluctantly got out of bed.  My mouth and throat felt sore and dry, my head ached, my eyes felt sore, my forehead felt clammy and I had a case of the chills. 
Now my mouth usually feels dry when I first wake up, but it’s nothing a few sips of water won’t cure.  I drank an entire bottle of water and my mouth still felt dry and sore.  I decided to go about my morning in a semi-normal fashion and figured that if I got sick or still felt like crap I could either go into work and come home early or just stay home and rest.  I cranked up the heat and put my robe on, before making my coffee and breakfast.  After I had my breakfast I felt a little better…no more chills, head ache was gone and my mouth and throat weren’t dry.  I still felt out of it, in a fog and drowsy and my forehead still feels clammy.  It’s been about 3hrs since I woke up.  I don’t feel sick to my stomach and I don’t have a lack of strength.  I’m not sick.  These are just side-affects of the ZzzQuil. 
I personally do not recommend this product due to the side-affects and due to the fact that store brand Benadryl is cheaper.  If you do have difficulty staying asleep I’d say that ZzzQuil and other OTC sleep aids are worth a try.  But after taking ZzzQuil I feel as though I am sleepwalking.  For me the side-affects outweigh the positives.
Restful sleep
Staying asleep
The bottom line:
Don’t waste your money.  Though it is worth a try, other sleep aids on the market make similar claims as the makers of this product but for less money.  The active and main ingredient is the same stuff that’s in NyQuil and other antihistamines.  Alcoholic beverages will probably do the same for less…seriously a couple beers would make me drowsy and cause me to sleep all night and without a hangover the next day.  ZzzQuil claims to be non-habit forming and I can see why…I don’t want to feel this way when I wake up, so I don’t intend to continue taking it. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Issue With The Zombie Genre...

Issue With Zombie Genre…
It’s October, which of course means scary movies!  I’ve been a fan of the horror movie genre ever since I was two and a half years old.  It all started when I had snuck into the living room after I was supposed to be in bed asleep and stood behind the couch.  My mom didn’t know I was behind the couch until she heard me saying “So dat’s Freddy Kwuga!”  I was two and a half…so let me translate: “So That’s Freddy Krugar!”  First don’t ask where a toddler would hear about Freddy Krugar; my guess is that I hear about him at day care…the facilitators were probably talking about the movie one day and I must have remembered the name “Freddy Krugar.”  Since my mom didn’t know how much of the movie I had already seen, she let me stay up and watch the rest of it.  In case you’re wondering, no I didn’t have nightmares and oddly I knew that movies were all pretend…just people running around in costumes and make up with added special effects. 
Even though I love horror movies the one genre I don’t particularly understand is the zombie genre.  First of all the dilemma is that there are two basic classes of zombies.  The first class are the zombies created by George A. Romero in The Night Of The Living Dead.  These zombies are slow moving and all though they make sounds, they do not speak.  These zombies are after the whole human.  The second class are the zombies created by Dan O’Bannon.  These zombies move more quickly and are out for brains and unlike Romero’s zombies, they speak. 
By now you’re probably wondering why I have such an issue with the Zombie genre.  It’s not the apocalyptic atmosphere these movies take on or the cannibalistic nature of zombies.  My question is: what happens when the zombies have eaten all the people…or all the people’s brains?  The key thing to note is that zombies are always after fresh brains or fresh flesh.  And the world has a finite number of people in it!  And zombies are not smart.  So the zombie has two options.  Option one is to become educated and start human farming…making humans mate so that there’s always a steady supply of fresh brains and flesh.  Option two is that they start eating each other and that in itself would make for an interesting movie right there…who would be chasing who in that case?  It would be sort of like Spy Versus Spy I suppose.  Or maybe it would be the smarter and faster zombies who pick off the weak and slow zombies first, survival of the fittest.  But then how fresh can another zombie’s flesh/brains be exactly?  And too, if the zombies somehow became educated…went to school and became “civilized” perhaps they’d just become carnivores, eating animals instead of humans.  And then perhaps the zombies and humans would live in semi-harmony.  Granted, much like anything else in our society there would be segregation and the integration.  And that raises another issue.  If the zombies became educated and stopped using humans as their main supply of food, then would a zombie and a living person be allowed to get married?  It’s something to ponder, because a zombie is already a dead person and obviously a living person can’t marry a dead person.  But then the people running for office at that time could pander to both sides…”I am pro-integrated zombie marriage.” “I am against integrated zombie marriage.”  Then there’d be a huge deal made about civil rights and whether or not it is moral/ethic for zombies and living people to get married. 
If we allow the zombies to live amongst us and somehow a war sprouts up between us and them all we’d have to do is get guns and aim for their heads.  It’d be the world’s shortest war.  Those with the better technology normally win the wars.  Zombies have been known to primarily prefer using their hands and teeth as weapons, which don’t normally stand up against firearms.  And then I have to wonder about laws…if a zombie were to be killed by someone would it count as murder or would Double Jeopardy apply in that situation.  The zombie is technically already dead.  That’s the other thing I never got.  If I shoot a zombie in the head I’ll kill it!  But a zombie is already dead; it’s a dead person.  So how can I kill something that’s already dead?  I can’t, so what’s to stop a zombie from coming back once they’ve been shot in the head.  And what would we call that?  It would be a zombie-zombie. 
I am all for a zombie prevention program.  It’s called, cremation!  So far no one in the horror film industry has brought somebody’s ashes back to life.  If there’s no body, there’s no zombie.  Problem/issues solved.   

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Okay, so I tried the "Bing it on" test.  If you don't know, it's supposed to be a study orchestrated by Microsoft to prove that supposedly their search engine, "Bing" is better than "Google." 
For the test, you type something into the search box and it brings up a split screen of Google's results side by side with Bing's results.  There are 5 rounds, so you can begin with something incredibly vague and gradually become more specific. 
So, I began with something simple which I like; bohemian style skirts.
I gradually altered my search to include length, then length and a price range (<$20), then used color and finally both color and the already mentioned price range. 
Now, I personally don't like a busy/image filled page unless I type in "images..." which I did not. 
I also attempted to use the word "images" in my search, however doing so gave images of the clothing style, or multi-colored skirts. 
Generally...3 out of 5 rounds it's a draw...I didn't like the results of either search engine, or both came up with basically the same information.  Overall I prefer Google to Bing.  2 out of 5 rounds that is.  So, if there is a greater number of draws, then would that not mean that both Bing and Google have offered either the same amount of information, or that neither has offered enough information?  A draw basically means that neither search engine is better or worse than the other.  So, no I did not "prefer" Google or's a draw. 
Unless one of the search engines can read my mind and figure out exactly what length, color/shade, design and price range I am looking for, then neither search engine is better and they both offer the same information.  Bing just adds stuff you weren't searching for...videos, images...etc.  If I'm searching for videos, I can easily type in "videos" and Google has the option of viewing videos on a sidebar.  Goggle's sidebar offers other options as well, which this test does not show; the test limits features of the competitor which may influence the outcomes. 
It is also easy to manipulate this test.  It is not a user specific test, so it doesn't know what you want in the ways of content. and results of searches vary; you may want and think you are searching the most up to date information, however it may show old/useless information...another way Microsoft is trying to stack the deck: useless info on one side, better info on the other. 
Overall, it's a useless endevor and I choose Google, have been since '04.  It's established and easier to use.  And often times Bing itself (apart from the test) will bring up information on something completely different from what you typed into the search box. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

So, I think I know what I want to do with my life...

Lately I've been thinking about what I want to do with my life. 
For a while I wanted to attend La Sorbonne and become a French instructor!  But then I had my accident and that set me A LOT; financially, timewise and in spirit. 
It's not that I don't still want to be a French instructor and I will never stop hoping that I'll attend La Sorbonne someday.  But maybe I should start with something a little more reachable and maybe I'm just not ready for that yet. 
"But okay self, what do we want to do?"
"Um...right now I'd like to down a bottle of wine."
"Okay.  But after that?"
"Maybe play The Sims..."
"Okay fine.  After that?"
"Logical self don't you know by now that after I've had a bottle of wine and played The Sims for 8hrs it's time to sleep?"
"Okay.  FINE!  When you first wake up what do you want to do?  And don't say 'take a leak' or 'coffee.'"
"Um...write something."
I think I want to write.  I used to love writing and gave it up for a while due to what one arrogant ass who shall remain nameless once said.  I enjoy making a character and a place and making action.
I also like Philosophy and trying to incorporate it into writing.
No, I don't want to write the next...wait, what's the top pop culture book series of the moment?  I'll just say I'm not going to write the next Twilight or even attempt to.  I could never allow myself to write something with that many plot holes and character flaws.  Seriously, a vampire who remains in highschool forever instead of actually doing something that might benefit mankind?  Okay, bad example...let me try again.
I'm not expecting to be the next Zola...okay having everyone of my works banned by the Catholic Church would be pretty sweet...okay...bad example.  I'm not going expecting to be the next Hugo; that works...I can barely write and read one page that I'm 100% happy with, let alone 1200 pages.  Maybe not the best example...not the next Shakespeare; that works.  Well known, controversial, pop culture references the dude's work and it stands the test of time.  It would be totally awesome if I ever did write something on par with the greats or as popular as Twilight...or any other teen/tween/kids book series from the 2000's to the present.  But I'm not expecting an overnight success and if only my friends/family are the only people who read my work I'd be happy.  And it would be fun to go into Barnes and Noble and place my books on all the "best seller" or "favorites" tables in the store!  Come on, who hasn't thought of doing that?  I do it all the time...I go find my favorite books and strategically place them.  Yes, The Beast Within and Titus Andronicus are appropriate reading material for kids under 10.  Sure, L'Assomoir and Notre-Dame De Paris belong on the "religious" table.  L'Assomoir=this is what happens when you drink and spend money you don't have!  Good moral lessons to learn there.  Notre-Dame De Paris=A book about a large church and it has a priest in it.  
So I think I want to just write.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

To My Fellow Atheists...Yes, the religious/spiritual can read too...

Okay, so there’s been this petition going around on Facebook.  If you haven’t seen it, it depicts two beams in the shape of a cross from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and is going to be on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum…I stand corrected, a couple petitions; one is a petition to keep the cross shaped beams in the museum and the other is to remove the cross shaped beams from the museum. 
The more common petition is to keep the cross shaped beams in the museum and to stop a lawsuit.  This is the part I have difficulty understanding: Atheists don’t want to be forced to believe how religious folks believe, so why are they telling religious…in this case, Christian folks that they can’t have cross shaped beams in the museum?  To my fellow Atheists out there dudes you’re giving other non-believers a bad rap. 
Personally, I have no problem if someone views two beams in the shape of a cross as a religious symbol.  If someone at the museum takes comfort in faith and attaching such meaning to the cross shaped beams, who am I to tell them that they’re wrong?  I don’t like it when folks push their values, lifestyles, beliefs…etc. on me and I try to show those folks the same respect. 
The attacks on 9/11 were awful!  Many people going to this museum may have lost a loved one during those attacks, in which case they should be able to seek comfort in the museum. 
Some other Atheists may say that the cross is a violation between church and state, due to the fact that the cross shaped beams have been consecrated and the word “Jesus” is carved on top and a prayer was said.  I don’t view it that way and here’s why…
We Atheists do not generally attach God and religion to a couple of beams…planks…boards…anything which is put in the shape of a cross.  I know I don’t.  So to my fellow Atheists, what is the problem?  If there is no meaning in these beams and the word “Jesus” and the religious ceremonies, then why are you creating it?  Yes my fellow Atheists you ARE attaching religious/spiritual meaning to the artifact in question.  And if you as an Atheist are giving an object religious/spiritual meaning then are you really an Atheist? 
Yes, folks something can only have powers if you label them with those properties and if you, yourselves give it those powers.  If I wanted to I could walk around and say that the book The Story of French is the most powerful and moving book in the world and that if you don’t believe that, then you’re wrong…bad example…I do that all the damn time!  But I think you get my point. 
One of the reasons I am an Atheist is because I’m fairly open minded, I have friends who are religious and spiritual.  I don’t mind when they tell me about church, or want to share a Bible verse, or pray in front of me…I may not partake, but I’m not going to stop you or tell you that you’re wrong.  To me, most religions or paths to spiritual enlightenment are too exclusive and closed minded.  My alternative is to respect you and your beliefs and in turn just respect that I don’t attach the same meaning to an artifact from the WTC. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

A me...

I can’t outrun a speeding bullet, tall buildings aren’t my thing.
There’s no “S” on my chest and my red cape is being cleaned. 
I’m doing my best, but some days that don’t mean a thing. 
Phone booth down for maintenance and I’ve got to explain to Ms. Lois Lane why the world keeps crashing to the ground! (Again!)
I’m getting too used to making excuses, while the paper’s slandering my name.
My vacation’s taking too long they say. 
And they’re wondering where I went wrong.  Or maybe is it that I’ve just gone insane?
I can’t outrun a speeding bullet, leaping tall buildings isn’t my thing.
There’s no “S” on my chest and my red cape is being cleaned. 
I’m trying to do my best, but some days that don’t mean anything. 
I can’t stand around and wait, while you make up your mind.
Posing for Olsen, while he snaps a photograph I wonder how long this peace of mind will last.
I hear Atlas at the door and he’s wanting to fight for no reason at all. 
Guess it’s another skeleton in my lair.
I can’t outrun a speeding bullet, leaping tall buildings isn’t my thing.
There’s no “S” on my chest and my red cape is being cleaned. 
I’m trying to do my best, but that don’t mean a thing. 
Put on my red boots, blue tights and fly around for a while, just to wave high to the passengers in the plane.
If I’m not Superman, then who should I be?
I can’t outrun a speeding bullet, leaping tall buildings isn’t my thing.
There’s no “S” on my chest and my red cape is being cleaned. 
I’m trying to do my best, but some days that don’t mean anything. 
I can’t outrun a speeding bullet, leaping tall buildings isn’t my thing.
There’s no “S” on my chest, but that don’t bother me.