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Debt freedom is a lot of work

A while ago, I posted that I finally saw, for the first time in 5 years, $0 owing on both my credit card and my line of credit. The battle is never over, however. Unless I want to completely free myself of the luxury of a credit card and line of credit, there will always be the slow creep of regular payments, and short-term borrowing ($100 here, $200 there), which in my situation are unavoidable occurrences.

So, I will always have to pay down between $200 and $300 on any given 2-week period to maintain the zero balance. This is in stark contrast to the prospect of running up all of my credit in all of my cards (credit, store cards, etc), where I know I could be easily $25000 in debt in a week, should I be silly enough to do such a thing.

But there are other issues with money. In my opinion, credit is too damn easy to get. I really shouldn’t have access to $25000, because I know that paying back would be nearly hopeless. I would have to work past my retirement to do that.

In addition, we have grown too accustomed to people pushing product in our face. I have been working for weeks trying to cancel my cell phone contract. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to shake a salesperson off my leg from Bell, trying to push cell phones on us, both on the phone and in person. I have been alive for 45 years without the need of the ball-and-chain of a cell phone, I will live another 45 damn years without it. It is cheaper to use a pay phone. Way cheaper. Even at 50 cents a call.

The pushing of product in the form of a pressure sales job is a rising trend that I find alarming. I think we are at a point where we are buying so much stuff that we can’t pay for, that I find it hard to believe that it will be easy to come out of the recession. Pressure sales, to me, applies to any attempt to sell to you anything you were not considering buying before the sales pitch.

We all like to prioritize our spending to suit our purposes. Pressure sales is a disruption to that purpose. It throws you off-focus. The only possible answer must be “no” to these people. You have to have a steely resolve that they are wasting their time and effort on you. And so what if they think you are a jerk? To them, the only people who are not jerks are people who buy their stuff, so who needs the high regard of people with such shallow values? On the other hand, if your purchasing decisions are deliberate, then you can walk into the store, and give the salesperson the easiest payday they ever had. You get exactly what you want, and the salesman still makes money.

We live in a society utterly awash in the sales pitch, so it is easy to miss the fact that you are not anything but a wise spender if you just say “no”. Make every purchase decision a planned, deliberate one. It takes a great deal of mental discipline to do this. You need to separate yourself from the competitiveness and the materialism of society to be such a person.

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I laughed till I choked

This was originally discovered at Patti’s Random Noise. A Google search shows that this one is all over the ‘net, with a complete history behind the sign and everything. I laughed so hard, I could barely breathe; I was even in pain. And, yes, I suppose that particular clinic doesn’t see many clients, having already gained useful advice before they even enter the parking lot.

I wonder what the Pope would think of this kind of family planning advice?

The sign was for a family planning office in Northampton, England. The “NHS” logo stands for Britain’s National Health Service.

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amusement Celebrity hip-hop humour misc music Musings Opinion Pop Culture pop music rap Thoughts william shatner

I Can’t Get Behind “I Can’t Get Behind That”

I Can’t Get Behind That — William Shatner and Henry Rollins
Never charted anywhere

From the album “Has Been” (2004)

See/Hear it here, if you dare. You hear it, but you only can view muppets lip-syncing to the song. You can also get the mp3 and the rest of the album from EMusic. My understanding is that no muppets were hurt in the making of the video or the song. I don’t believe it, though.

What do you get when you place the former Captain of the Starship Enterprise in the same studio with a former frontman for the punk rock group Black Flag?

I don’t know, but whatever it is, I can’t get behind that!

We expect an embarrassing level of tackiness from the likes of Bill Shatner (anyone remember “Transformed Man”?), but no matter how much Henry Rollins and producer Ben Folds try to make this sound cool with manic music arrangements, the result is, well, a tax write-off for them both, because I am not sure of any other uses for it. Adrian Belew is on Guitar, Henry Rollins says in an interview. If anyone recalls, Belew made his name touring with Frank Zappa, then David Bowie, and afterward became a band member in the 1980s re-formation of King Crimson with Robert Fripp at the helm. But mostly you hear the manic percussion instruments, not much guitar. The percussion is something along the style of the Hawaii 5-0 theme.

I heartily agree with certain observations. For example, I believe also that there truly is no modern invention more futile than a leaf blower. And “futile” is an excellent word to describe leaf blowers.

As for some kind of overall rating, Shatner’s work must be rated with stars of a different galaxy, for I have none to offer.

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amusement comedy humour Life Musings Opinion Popular Culture random thoughts Rants Thoughts

New ways of going insane

“Excessive text messaging and email” is now proposed to be included as new mental illnesses in an update to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV). These are not the only silly classifications they have.

One proposed mental illness that I have heard from that seminal magazine, the Journal of Polymorphic Perversity, is “Consensual Validation Disorder”. That is, if someone doesn’t like you, then you’re one card short of a full deck. The rest of what I have here sound just as silly, except that they are for real.

Suck at math? Well, not only is math “not for you”, but you’re 8 pawns short of a gambit. You may have “Mathematics Disorder”, or dyscalculia (315.1). This includes the inability to copy things down as you see them, forgetting to carry, forgetting signs, and so on.

Like the taste of coffee? You could win a trip to the funny farm. You could fall into one of the classifications for the “Caffeine-Related Disorders“. They had to give it its own classification, because the disorder they have in mind does not constitute substance abuse. But you’re still one drop short of an empty bladder.

Can’t sleep after too much coffee? It’s not a natural tramadol 50 mg buy online outcome of drinking too much coffee. According to DSM, you are a crouton short of a salad. You have caffeine intoxication disorder (305.90).

Like to have a cigarette after a good dinner? Then you are a few fries short of a happy meal. Nicotine dependance (305.1) is a mental illness.

Trying to quit smoking? Then you’re one sultana short of a fruitcake. Nicotine withdrawal is also a mental illness (292.0).

Can’t write legibly or can’t express yourself in writing? It’s not that you have lost your muse. You’re one weenie short of a roast. You have a disorder of written expression (315.2).

Do you snore when you sleep? It’s not just a minor irritation spouses have to put up with anymore. If you saw logs, then you may be a chocolate chip short of a cookie. You probably have Breathing-Related Sleep Disorder (780.57).

If your son or daughter is rebellious, then it is not because the world is unfair to them and most certainly not because they are expressing their independence from their parents. Your teenage son or daughter is actually a doughnut short of a cop. He or she has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (313.81).

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daily life inspiration literature Musings Thoughts writing

Completely believing people's wildest stories

I’m into totally believing every story people tell me about themselves. Sometimes, when people tell me their problems, it’s complete horse-crap, with only the flimsiest relation to reality. But I sit in wide-eyed fascination of these artistic bullshitters. I’m just along for the ride, and sitting and listening to these tall tales aren’t really going to hurt me. So I believe it. All of it. With all my heart. It has nothing to do with me, so who cares? I even offer to help out with their “predicament” (which they fabricated of course). And it never amounts to anything anyway.

Here’s how you play: you completely, without holding back, believe everything a bullshitter tells you. If they falter, help them out in order to get their story right. In order to win the game, you have to “land on your feet”, and neither player gets hurt. Those are the rules.

OK? Ready to rumble?

I saw Karen again, and this time it was in the Student Building on campus. She asked me if I remember bumping into her a month ago near the Harbour Front with her mother. I vaguely remembered, and said so.

She said if I could clearly remember this, that she wanted me to testify that in court, because she thought the police were giving her trouble. I was not able to find out what kind of trouble. She was evasive. I didn’t want to pry, but my naturally supportive self wanted to jump in and help her out. I told her so. But, funny thing, none of it amounted to anything. The conversation about court just evaporated. Living in fear of the police didn’t seem all that important, all of a sudden, and I never heard about it again.

It was just like the day later on when she spoke about the fact that her parents were Nazis. She was in her 30s when she spoke to me on this (and that would make her parents, what, oh 50 or 60 years old when they gave birth to her)? She went on about how they used to operate the torture chambers in some part of Poland. She lived in mortal fear of her parents, apparently, because they ruined the livelihood of her brother and set his house on fire. She was now living in fear of them coming for her.

Now did I react and say “Come off it, Karen”? Nooooo. I was the proud picture of gullability itself. I listened to her for hours, in fascination of her and this incredible story. The next day I ran to the university library and took out an atlas of Nazi prison camps. There were hundreds of small camps dotting Poland. I laid it out for her to jog her memory. She pointed at one called Treblinka, but she was no longer going into the same level of fine detail that she was regaling to me earlier with.

The subject was dropped, and never pursued again. For some odd reason, the topic of her parents about to kill her any day now did not seem to inspire as much fear and was no longer important, and she never brought it up again.

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Creative Writing Musings random thoughts Thoughts

Writing Again

I get this inspiration to write something sometimes, and then my habit recently has been to write it on to any medium that seems to exist. I earlier purchased a hardcover journal where I think the object of it is to write some response to a quote or biblical passage. Like all of this, I could never keep it up.

I do have a main paper-based diary, which I have not entered anything in some months. As for LiveJournal, I never entered anything, it seems, for two years. That is, for all practical purposes, not even a first entry.

It is interesting that there was a time that writing flowed from me almost on a daily basis. It’s happening again, except this time it’s on WordPress. Not that there is anything special about WordPress (I have to type, which is slower), but it is just happening. Finally, it is happening.

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I wannabe Chris: A parody about Chris Crocker Parodies – Updates

Some updates to the story I wrote.

There are some minor changes to my story. (link above)

The Chris Crocker video in question.

His imitators (parody, of course, and not all male). Many of these stray far off the topic of Chris Crocker: 1 2 3 4 5 (Israel?) 6 7 8 9 10 (a hockey player?) 11
There are dozens more, but I haven’t got anywhere near that kind of time to collect them all.

I have a link to the original story about The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier.

Some related comments in an earlier article I wrote.

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Opinion Rants Thoughts

Remember, when the air was free?

One of the most reassuring things about gas stations is that sign many of them have, advertising “free air”. Yes, those were the days, the days when air was free… I now go to the same gas station, and they now have a coin-operated air pump, which now charges 50 cents for air. The first time I used it, it didn’t stay on long enough for me to inflate all 4 tires. Not wanting to spend a buck just to inflate the fourth tire, I asked the manager to turn on the pump for maybe an extra minute. Would you believe I had to argue this with him?

Oh, how I long for the return of the days when the air was free. We didn’t have to pay for air. Air at one time was not a commodity to be packaged and sold. I guess buy tramadol there is an air shortage. There is not enough to go around. It is a wonder that after all of the tires in the world are filled with air, that there is still enough air left in the atmosphere to sustain life and for us to grow.  Of course, the oil companies would hold all living things responsible for creating an air shortage, such that there is not enough air left to put in the tires after all the living things in the world are done with it. That would be the reason for them charging us half a buck at the air pump.

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amusement Creative Writing humour Life Literary satire Thoughts writing

Threes (by John Atherton)

I think that I shall never c
A # lovelier than 3;
For 3 < 6 or 4,
And than 1 it’s slightly >.
All things in nature come in 3s,
Like , trio’s, Q.E.D.s;
While $s gain more dignity
if augmented 3 x 3 —

A 3 whose slender curves are pressed
By banks, for compound interest;
Oh, would that, paying loans or rent,
My rates were only 3%!

3² expands with rapture free,
And reaches toward ∞ ;
3 complements each x and y,
And intimately lives with π.
A circle’s # of °
Are best ÷ up by 3s,
But wrapped in dim obscurity
Is √(-3).

Atoms are split by men like me,
But only God is 1 in 3. digestive health nausea

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amusement comedy Creative Writing entertainment humour mathematics writing

My Geo-Trig Poem

You take tan b and ×
sin(cos(q+y))
and just to make it more complex
÷ cot(Δx)
And so then by csc(Θ)
× angles π, ρ, η
and show that they continue on
by proof with δ – ε.

Once tidied-up you then inspect
and find the answer incorrect
So then you do the question over
Once it’s right you then discover
You were to do the even ones
and not the odds, which you had done.

You give it up and say you’re leaving
Geo-Trig for basket weaving.

— something I wrote back in Grade 12.

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Four Ugly Colours (or, colours not found in nature)

There is a certain set of color values somewhere in the visible spectrum that do not seem to have a category. These colors seem to go with nothing in your house, and do not seem to come from anything in nature.

The commonest of the ugly colors appear to be (by their RGB values — it seems to look different on different monitors):

149 255 183 industrial green 180 233 255 industrial blue

The colors of the “industrial” spectrum are most often found in factories and warehouses. The really good paint was probably left for head office. The colors also appear most often in low-rent housing and greasy-spoon restaurants.

226 255 187 puke green

A color favoured mostly by people suffering from red-green color blindness. Often mistaken for “moss green”. Consists mostly of canary yellow with just enough green to make you think the canary was unlucky. Associated with festering sores and infectious disease.

255 205 245 hospital pink

For similar reasons, industrial blue is also called “hospital blue”. Associated with strerility. People who decorate their homes in hospital pink or hospital blue favour what is called in interior design as the “anaesthetic aesthetic”. Enjoyed most often by people under anaesthesia.

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Bobbi Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe, remembered

I was listening to a Pravda Records cover of a song from the late ’60s called “Ode to Billie Joe” (originally a Bobbi Gentry tune). It made me think about the original, the words, and musings about how hard it is to play on the guitar.

I recall there was also a mysticism regarding the words and what the story was really trying to say. It turns out upon buy tramadol online overnight shipping looking things up that it is a story about suicide and how callous people can be about the death of those not close to them. And sure, the pragmatic farmer’s mentality really comes out in the song. Rumor has it that the Tallahatchie Bridge (the one in real life) collapsed in 1972.

Wes Clark discusses this topic to its ultimate futility.

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Aimee Mann

Something that is currently under high rotation on my iPod (actually, it’s an el-cheapo SanDisk that does the same thing) is a song called “Calling on Mary” by Aimee Mann. Aimee Mann has had a few good tracks after she parted from ‘Til Tuesday. But for some reason, this one, from what must be one of the moodiest Christmas albums I have ever heard (“One More Drifter in the Snow”), has me addicted. The song has that addictive quality of hitting all the right notes and the has all the right chord changes to keep it engaging. I would like it to be a love song or something, but here it is, a Christmas song. There is definite heart-ache in the music, more so than the words. It is an articulation of feeling I would put up there with George Harrisson. At least in that tune.

One wonders why she hadn’t been bigger as an act. There is definite hit quality in her music. It seems her “image” is of a female who thinks, who ponders, who is moody and introspective. None of these qualities are common in female acts.

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random thoughts Rants

Are there unused icons on your desktop?

Nothing brings Windows to its knees more than unused icons on your desktop. It must be so, because every so often whenever I use Windows, I get this annoying message on my toolbar (one of those balloon things) saying that there are unused icons. This must be some kind of important message, otherwise it wouldn’t be bugging me so much about the icons. I imagine that it must be the reason Windows is so slow. All those icons are just gumming up the works somehow. Pretty soon, I imagine that the icons will cause a fatal crash and bring on the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death. And you know, in cyberspace, no one can hear you Blue Screen. I will end up as roadkill on the Information Highway, with packets of information whizzing past me, with not one of them stopping to help. Perhaps some of them will slow down to stare at me like I was some kind of spectacle, and then you know what will happen next… the entire network will slow down to accommodate the rubberneckers on the Information Highway. This will ultimately bring networks to a crawl, and ultimately, the entire Internet will slow down, and it will all be my fault, because I didn’t clean up my desktop. That will probably be my final thoughts as I lay dying on the Information Highway’s “Slow” lane. And as I rise to go to heaven to meet St. Peter at the gate, he will know about my slothful and slovenly ways and take that into account as he figures out whether I should wind up in heaven or hell. I imagine that there must be a special place in hell roped off for those who commit the egregious sin of not removing unused icons from their desktop.

Of course, there is an answer to the cancerous scourge of unused icons on the Windows desktop. It is a signal, my friends, that Windows is no longer useable. It is time to rip it out and install Linux. I guarantee, my friends, that Linux will not give a hoot about your icons. You can cover your whole goddamn desktop with them and the operating system will not complain. That has got to give you peace of mind. Sure, there is a bit of a learning curve with the new operating system, but at least St. Peter will be pleased with you, and you will have one more reason to remain in heaven. And as a bonus, you can take the passing lane on the Information Highway.

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Models make bad computer geeks

Computer Gique Chic
Computer Gique Chic – Unknown who the model or photographer is, but the main attraction is, is that darned computer!
I saw some images, professionally shot, of these stylish models in front of this mostly glass computer monitor with a glass touch keyboard. There were two problems I had with this: 1) there is no such keyboard or monitor; and 2) if I was that good-looking and stylish I wouldn’t be spending so much time in front of computers. This is the trouble you run into where can i buy tramadol when you have too high a budget and hire high-priced models to fill the job of conveying some kind of realism in the cyber world.And, no there is no such computer. There exist various see-through LCD displays for some of the fancier clock radios, but this has not filtered into computer screens. The patent for glass keyboards have been around since 2003, but I am not aware of see-through ones except as artwork or as props.

This article previosuly appeared in other tags.

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Pink Martini

Pink Martini is a Jazz ensemble (although much of what they do is of an “international” flavour) featuring a lead vocalist, a pianist, and a string and horn section. I purchased a CD recently called Hey Eugene, whose title track is really hilarious. It was played on our local jazz station. The other tracks are worthwhile also, but live up to different expectations. I say that because the title track appears to be geared up as more of a pop tune. I enjoyed it, but I like Jazz, and these were interesting tunes. The lead singer China Forbes sings in different languages, but the lyric booklet has English translations.

[media id=52]

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Coronation Street media Pop Culture television trivia

The longest running show in television history

The longest-running soap opera took a bit of looking around. I had believed it was likely to be the British soap opera Coronation Street, which has been running for over 47 years (since December 1960 according to a fan site) and is still running in the UK and in several other countries in Europe and North America. ITV, the network which produces the show, does not appear to have a special web page on the program, as far as I could tell, but has links to plenty of character-based trivia on the soap.

However, I do some further snooping, and the Americans have a daily soap opera, aired on CBS, called Guiding Light, which has been airing since 1952, making the serial 56 years old. Before television, it apparently was aired on radio as a 15-minute drama spot since 1937. So, if you count radio, then, the serial will celebrate its 75th anniversary on January 25, 2012.

The longest-running show on TV of any description of which I am aware appears to be NBC’s Meet the Press, a current affairs program which has been airing daily since November of 1947, making the program 60 years old on television as of last year.

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Ad parody for Windows Vista

Follow this link. It is the best Nat Lamp parody I have seen in a long in waterbury can i buy viagra at a store time. Apologies for the repost, it is being posted to several new categories.

 

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Deep Purple

I have a retro cassette of pre-Beatles music from the 1959-1963 era. I have had it for years, and it is full of really boring tunes that I hardly ever play. It was an era of sappy sentimentalism, when torch songs reigned supreme, and everyone tried to outdo each other with the ultimate love tune. If you are the kind of person who expects more than McCarthyist, sappy sentimentalism from music, then it wasn’t a good time to grow up. I wasn’t born then, but came accross this cassette in a delete bin at a record store. I guess no one else wanted it either.

There is one song among the collection whose title stood out because I was a Deep Purple fan (you know, those ’70s musicians with the loud guitars — that Deep purple). The song, sung by Nino Tempo and April Stevens, was actually called Deep Purple. Of all the music I heard on the cassette, it was the most mellow among this collection of already mellow tunes. I had largely forgotten about this tune, until this week when I was listening to an all-Jazz radio station, and they began playing a 1940s version of Deep Purple by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra (by WWII — the time of the recording — it became a specially-commissioned orchestra to play for the troops of the Allied Command (British and US)).

In listening to Glenn Miller, I learned something about the Tempo/Stevens version of the song — it was played very fast! Miller’s rendition was at half of the tempo, with no words (I don’t know if Mitchell Parish had written the words yet at that point). I look this song up on Wikipedia, and find it was written in 1929 by Peter de Rose. It was already over 30 years old when Tempo/Stevens sung it, and over 40 years old by the time Donny and Marie Osmond sung it (a version I haven’t heard about).

Sampling versions that they have of this song on EMusic, (there are over 80 different versions listed), most versions I sampled are super-slow Jazz tunes, usually played with piano in the lead, or as the only instrument other than voice. After some sampling, I have to say that I am partial to the Tempo/Stevens version of the tune. I was able to search out the chords to play it on guitar.

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Forgiveness

As I understand it, forgiveness is something that is given after the other party has admitted wrongdoing. If they had not, then forgiveness is futile, except maybe in one’s mind. In other words, if I had wronged you, and I don’t say I am sorry — in fact, I refuse to even acknowledge that wrong was done — then it would sound absurd for you to say to me “I forgive you”. It falls on deaf ears. I know I said that before, but it is worth repeating. There are a lot of wrongdoers in my life, who seem to have a warped sense of morals, who think in their own minds they have done nothing wrong; that they are perfect somehow.

I guess for some people, the two simple words “I’m sorry” are the most difficult words to say in the English language. It is an admission that you are not perfect, and with it an acceptance, I guess, of a certain loss of self-esteem (which seemed too high to begin with). After that, there should be an attempt to make up for it — a reparative justice, like the Greeks used to do.

But it seems for some people, it has gone beyond that, especially where rape and other forms of irrepairable harm was committed.