Home > Archive: May, 2007
Archive for May, 2007
May 31st, 2007 at 07:37 pm
Your parents always said you needed your rest, but did you know that not getting your Z's could actually be costing you big bucks?Wise Bread
That's right, folks: not getting enough sleep can hurt more than your health.
- Poor sleepers spend an average of $4200 more on medical costs.
- Insomniacs visit both doctors and hospitals twice as often as those who sleep properly.
- People with poor sleep habits are three times more likely to miss work.
- According to a US Navy study, insomniacs are promoted less often and are more likely to leave their job.
- Essential job skills like problem solving, creativity, and ability to handle stress are severly affected when you're deprived of sleep.
- Going 24 hours without sleep impairs a driver as much as a blood alcohol level of .10. Remember, in many states DWI means 'driving while impaired', not driving while intoxicated.
So, anyone care to do the math?
Take into consideration co-pays for office visits and possibly a prescription sleep aid. Perhaps even a new space-age mattress, a white noise machine, or over the counter sleep-aids.
Add in the effect of missing work and lackluster performance on the job and the resulting lack of promotion and raise
And heaven forbid a car accident while groggy, resulting in hospital bills and possibly even a DWI conviction.
Think staying up an extra hour is still worth it?
For those of you that have a hard time sleeping, try some of these ideas:
- Try meditating when you lie down to go to sleep.
- Create a sleep ritual of relaxing activities before you go to bed (i.e. a cup of tea, a hot shower, brushing your hair) that you do every night. Not only will they help you relax, but they will eventually be activities that cue your body that it's time to go to sleep.
- Tell yourself a goodnight story. Even better, try playing the scene out in your head. Chances are the story will turn into a dream in no time.
- Investigate the concept of the power nap. Some researchers think our bodies are designed for a little cat-nap sometime between 1pm and 4pm, often called the 'siesta hours'. Try taking a 15-20 minute nap sometime during those hours. Personally, I take a later lunch around 1pm anyways, so it's easy to set the alarm on my cell-phone and rest my eyes during my lunch hour.
May 29th, 2007 at 06:17 pm
You read it, folks: we're on week 7 of these creepy, space age tomatoes!
Two more are down, but the remaining two are looking AOK for now. Anyone want to wager how long these tomatoes will hold out?
I've decided that if they make it to week 8 (2 months!), I'm likely going to have to send the whole saga to the Bloom company.
May 27th, 2007 at 07:08 pm
OK, as someone who hosts websites I realize I have a vested interest in convincing people that they do in fact need a site. I've been doing the internet thing for a while, so it comes second nature to me. But the fact remains that if you have a business you really do need a site. Not just any website like the freebies you can get some places, but one that is specific to your business (aka branded)
1. Your customers probably expect you to have one.
Simple, but true. Web sites are today what business cards used to be. Nowadays anyone can have a website, even the 9 year old daughter of one of my co-workers. With so many easy and inexpensive options available, there's no reason to leave your customers wondering "Why don't they have a site?"
2. A website with your own domain name is an easy 'branding' tool.
Even though it's not hard, having your own domain name makes your website seem more professional and established. Plus, it usually ties in to your business name or what you do, which means it's easier to remember. For instance, which of these example web site addresses strikes you as more professional? Which would be easier to remember?
3. The email address.
A huge reason your business needs its own domain is the email address. Even if you have nothing more than a single page website, you can still use your own email address when running your business. Think about it: which email address looks more professional and established?
4. Having a site makes it easier for your business to do business.
How much time would you have to spend on the phone explaining what you do to 100 prospective customers? At 5 minutes per call, that's 500 minutes or almost 9 hours. How much time (and money!) would it take you to drive to see 100 prospects and give them your 5 minute presentation? I'm guessing days. With a website, prospective customers can learn about you and your business 24/7 without you ever having to be involved. This frees up your time to do other things, things you get paid for.
5. Reach customers you couldn't get to before.
And I'm not just talking about people from around the country or the world. Take a minute to think about the types of people that live in your area. Are there shift workers who sleep during the day and work at night? What about a deaf population? Or perhaps your services would be of use to people who are disabled and aren't able to come o your office or location. Having a website opens your business up to a whole new world of customers right in your own back yard.
6. A business web site makes it easy to relay information at little or no cost to you.
If you don't have a site, how do you let your new or existing customers know if you're running a special? Chances are you call them or send out a flyer or post card. Either way, you're spending a relatively large amount of time, money, or both to relay this information. If you have a web site, you just post the information on your front page (or news page, or specials page) for prospects to see and send your existing clients an email.
7. You can save money on software and protect your ability to run your business.
This is probably one of the least thought about perks of having a web site for a business, but it's definitely worth mentioning. When you have a website for your business, you can install Open Source software that is intended to help you run your business from your website. Invoicing, scheduling, trouble tickets, accounting: the list goes on.
As an added bonus, you'll have the option of running these aspects of your business from any internet-capable computer, not just your own PC. This might not seem like a big deal, until your computer crashes and you can't create invoices or balance the books! By using web-based software you've installed on your own website, you could just head to the local library and continue business as usual.
May 27th, 2007 at 06:05 pm
You ever hear that old saying that bad things come in threes?
Well, after taking cat number two to the vet this past week, I was joking with DH that I was going to hide my third and final cat in the house until June arrived.
We both had a good laugh.
Then, yesterday afternoon, DH reached up to pull off his glasses and clean them. The arm fell off right in his hands, and is designed so that it cannot be repaired. Believe me, we tried superglueing everything back together.
He's had this problem with these frames before and took them back and had them replaced. Unfortunately, the optomitrist where we got them is not open on Saturday's. Plus, there's only a 1 yr warranty on the frames that is about to run out, so getting them fixed would have only been a stop-gap.
Add this to the fact that he was due for an eye exam anyways and he HAD to have glasses because he has to drive a large delivery truck for work tomorrow (a holiday), and you get the two of us at the only place that both participated in his insurance and had an exam appointment available Saturday afternoon: the Lens Crafters one county over.
He has a big head, so we're limited in the frames that'll fit him. And since we had to have the glasses ASAP, we had to take the in-stock featherweight lenses instead of the less expensive version. Finally, he got the other frames just last year so we didn't qualify for a full frame benefit only a partial on the insurance. Grand Total: $241.18 for frames, lenses, and co-pay for the visit.
127.00 - cat one at the vet
115.75 - cat two at the vet
241.18 - DH glasses
483.93 - total damage to the slush fund in 2 wks
Seriously, me and the other cat are going to hide out somewhere and wait out the rest of the month.
May 25th, 2007 at 01:21 pm
Ooooooooh, are you excited yet?!??DotSlice
If anyone read my articles last month on PFAdvice.com about starting a business with pocket change, then you probably already know what this is. Yeah, I know that means it's not exactly super-secret, ergo the addition of the word 'slightly' to the title.
But, for those of you that didn't read that article, here's what part of it said.
(I)t turns out there are several metric tons worth of photographers and web-designers in my area, and they’re all as good as me if not better. Depressing, right? Well, the one thing they have in common (other than being better than me) is that they all need a place online to host their work. In fact, lots of individuals and businesses around here need a nice, clean, reliable place to host their websites. Even I was looking for this very kind of service.
In many circles, this is known as a light bulb moment. You’ll know it when you have one.
And there you have it! I am now operating a web hosting company called
and am currently running at a profit for the quarter. I've just put the site out to the public, so please feel free to take a look and tell me what you think. My options were to either get it out there warts and all, or work on it trying to get it perfect for perpetuity.
How on earth did I wind up being a web host? Personally, I think it all boils down to money karma.
In January I decided to think of several ways I could make extra money every month. For what it's worth I'm still working on that by the way, so any good ideas are appreciated! At any rate, this is what started the money karma rolling.
In February I started working on a website to showcase some of my photographs, thinking that I could make some money on the side. I bought a domain and signed up with what seemed like a reasonable and well-established web hosting company. While the site is still up and running, I created it as a personal learning experience more than anything because it had been a while since I'd done any web programming.
It's a good thing I did, too, because in the middle March my former boss offered me a side-job creating an ecommerce site for a friend of his who already had a domina and a very unfortunate site. See the money karma at work? Ironically, the client was hosting her website at the same company where I was hosting mine.
By the end of March I had put together a proposal and both he and the client liked what I had to offer. For the new site to work, the client needed to change the plan she had with the web host. This was fine with her since she would wind up paying less money per month for more features, but the web-host was making it way more difficult than it had to be.
Long story short we agreed to jump ship and host her site somewhere else, and I started getting concerned because my site was hosted at this same place. Would I have these kinds of troubles too? More importantly, where were we going to host these sites?!?
I did something relatively rash and impetuous: I did some research, ran the numbers once, and decided to take the risk and arrange to host the sites myself. By the way, running the numbers once was the rash and impetuous part... I had the back-end working by the middle of April, and both of our sites were live.
A week later, a co-worker of mine mentioned how much he paid to host his personal sites. I just looked at him and said "Do I have a deal for you...". Between his hosting and the first client's hosting I'm running at a slight loss every month. But, when I add in what I would have to pay to host my own domains with another company, I wind up breaking even. Add in the money for designing the first client's website and business cards, and I'm running at a profit for the quarter.
Now, I've been asked to host two sites that are currently being developed by a new company. They've also asked if I'd be interested in being the Web Master (er, mistress?) and Managing Editor for both sites in return for a cut of the pie... Um, lemme think...
Let's just see if I can get everything to snowball...
May 25th, 2007 at 06:17 am
So, apparently 2 of my 3 cats were involved in some kind of massive turf war street fight the weekend of Mother's Day.
The boy, Samson, was gimpy on his paw so I took him to the vet Monday of last week. Sure enough, puncture wounds. A few days of forcing antibiotics down his throat and taking my life in my hands by spraying his paw with wound-wash, and all was well.
See, here he is, all regal and fit as a fiddle.
This past weekend we started to notice that Summer was getting a little swollen on her back, right by her tail joint. It looked like she'd been stung by a wasp the way it swelled a bit. But, she didn't act like it was hurting her and was moving and eating as normal, so we didn't think much of it.
Wednesday night while I was in the shower, DH yells "Tina, Summer's butt exploded!". Uh-oh...
Apparently where she was swollen was starting to abcess, and wasn't a wasp sting at all. Abcess ruptured, and there was goo oozing everywhere. At 11:30 at night, when there are no real options to get it looked at.
So, call yesterday morning and set up an appointment with the best vet clinic ever (which happens to be the one 1 mile from my house). DH takes her in, and she comes out looking like this:
Poor kitty! They sedated her to shave her rear, cleaned the abcess, stitched it up, inserted two drains, gave us more antibiotics, and added the collar as a stylish finishing touch.
Our total for the visit was $115. I LOVE MY VET!
She'll have to go back on Tuesday to have the drains removed, which will probably cost another $25 for the visit. I'm happy to pay it, though, because I want to do whatever I can to make sure this vet stays in business. They offer mobile pet vacinations and very low cost spays and neuters for our area, and I think they do a great service.
At any rate, two cats to the vet within a week and a half. Once again, the slush fund comes to the rescue. Woohoo!!
More important, I think, is the fact that DH saw first hand that having extra cash available (well, in savings, whatever) made it much easier for us to weather these two small emergencies. There was a time when an extra $250 expense in a month would have put us over a barrel, and it really wasn't that long ago. I'm hoping that by seeing this situation, he'll understand the concept of an 'emergency fund' just a little bit better.
May 24th, 2007 at 05:15 am
First, Some Backgroundicanhascheezburger.com
I'm in an odd place right now: I've got so many things rolling around in my head that I've not been able to focus on any one particular thing and feel I can do it justice. As a result, I've not been blogging as much and I've not written a single PFAdvice article in May. D'OH!
Moreover, I've been working on my slightly super-secret side business (like the alliteration?) and keep trying to get it just right before releasing it to the world. Long story short, I'm hitting a wall.
To combat this I've been doing a lot of reading online, looking for inspiration. The way I browse the web is at best bizzare and on occasion schizoid. This week I was looking for sites that I could include as part of a newsfeed on my website and I took a new-to-me track: I went to Technocrati, ranked the blogs by 'authority', and checked out the top 100.
I actually didn't find many of them interesting, which is in and of itself kind intriguing. There would be an interesting article here or there, but most of my good reading came from following links and Trackbacks within these supposedly good blogs. As an aside, this is how I found
and The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
. Great time wasters!
The Meat of This Post
While wandering around unchaperoned on the web, I came across a good article at Genius Types
about passive income. Not that the concept of passive income is new to me, but I thought the article did a good job of pointing out that to be successful at it requires a slightly different view of money and making it work for you. Plus, it made me remember that I really want a passive income, the sooner the better.
Then yesterday I meandered my way over to Success from the Nest
and read aout how perfectionism can be just another form of procrastination. Some of you might remember that this is something I've said before , but it's one thing to have had a thought and quite another to sit down and read it in black and white.
The two articles struck cord with me, I suppose, because they are exceptionally timely in my life. I fell into this slightly super-secret side business by chance, but it does have the possibility to make a great passive income source if I can get it up and running. Good news, right?
Well, yes and no, because that's where the perfectionism rears its ugly little head. I keep second guessing myself, or trying to plan things to be just right in order to make the most of this opportunity. All I seem to wind up doing, though, is spinning my wheels and not going much of anywhere.
At any rate, the two articles made me think and apparently I think better when I write, so here I am. Guess it worked after all!
May 22nd, 2007 at 08:55 pm
Yup, six weeks of crazy creepy mutant tomato fun!
Here they are
One tomato is obviously on the down and outs. There's another one in the back of the bag that's a little harder to see, but it's funky by the stem.
So, after 6 weeks, only two of the tomatoes are bad. The other four are still technically quite usable. So, I'm tossing the two that are funky and I'll be keeping the rest in the bag for the sake of this, um, experiment.
May 22nd, 2007 at 08:04 am
If foul language bothers you, you might want to stop reading now.trolls
If foul language can sometimes make you laugh, by all means continue!
I've been on the internet a long time, going on half my life now. Geez, how sad is that... Anyways, one thing that has always been consistent are
. Usenet, Delphi, chat rooms, forums, MySpace, Digg, and beyond: none of them have ever been immune to trolls.
Well, earlier today I happened upon a useful classification tool for trolls based on the posts they make. I found it on http://www.venganza.org
, home of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Regardless of your views of the CoFSM, I hope you find this tool useful.
* * * * *
Here’s Jingles’ masterpiece: the patented Fuckwit Finder.
2.Overuse of capslock
3.Alternating upper/lower case
6.Threats of burning in hell, divine vengeance, etc
8.Lowbrow insults of our god
9.Accusations of homosexuality
10.Threats of rape, physical violence, oars, etc
One point per positive answer.
As for scoring, well, its a fairly loose guide. If borderline, class as appropriate. Otherwise;
0-2: A Wit; Intelligent, reasonable, polite and respectable. High likelihood of a reasoned belief system, and serves as a credit to the human race.
2-4: A Wit in a Fit; While they may normally be a decent poster, they are either irritated, excited, or otherwise unfocused, allowing slightly more than the occasional slip to occur.
4-6: A Nitwit; Likely seeking attention, may not necessarily mean to irritate, but is not aware of proper forum etiquette, and so comes across badly. With patient councilling, and the occasional application of a large blunt object, subject may be cured.
6-7: Dimwit; Not overly violent or aggressive, but is nevertheless a troll, an inbred hillbilly, or an above average-intelligence fundamentalist. They are on the absolue edge of redeemability. With extreme electroshock, elocation & deportment lessons, and substantial severe blunt-force trauma, could be upgraded to a nitwit.
7-8: A Twit; Annoying, loud, cannot use even simple words… what we have here is the Twit. Beyond redemption, these sorry excuses for humanity can be found primarily in years 7-9 of primary/secondary education, and behind the pulpit in Pentecostal churches. Avoid if possible. If unavoidable, bring a big stick. Thankfully, due to short attention spans, these specimens will generally depart after a single post.
8-9: The Shit; Sets out from the off to be an absolute monkey scrotum. Unable to take a hint, this is the sort of poster who will haunt a thread for as long as their attention span holds. While not a long term poster, they can clog a thread for up to an hour in severe cases. If encountered virtually, non-engagement is advised. If encountered physically, use a shotgun.
9-9.5: Mimic; what we have here is the stereotype troll. At first glance, will appear a complete fuckwit, however, closer inspection will reveal telltale hints that this is actually an educated poster (Nitwit or better) imitating the lower-order troll lifeform. Should they get annoying, utilising their real name will likely end the display.
10: The granddaddy of them all, the complet and utter Fuckwit; Few and far between, these few are talked about with hushed voices. Going down in forum legend, their names will be forever uttered as a byword for all things troll. Easily capable of devouring a website for weeks on end, any challenge makes them stronger, any attention makes them bolder. Be warned, for their sign is L337, their marker is spam. If encountered in multiple numbers, can murder a thread beyond salvage. This is the anti-Cheesus. Run while you still can.
May 22nd, 2007 at 05:16 am
Came home from work last night and DH mentioned that the radio station was giving away tickets to a Smashing Pumpkins show in Asheville. Neither one of us have ever seen them, and being GenX wanabes from the 90s the Pumpkins are one of those bands that throws me into the "Way Back Machine".
Since the station was giving them away, DH had figured the show had already sold out. But, we checked online, and turns out tickets hadn't even gone on sale yet. They were up at 7pm last night.
Apparently it's not just 1 show, either: it's 9 shows over the course of 2 weeks at the Orange Peel. This is more a listening room type venue, only holds 900 people. We've been there before to see Edwin McCain and enjoyed it.
The other odd thing: this is the Pumpkins only east coast stop on their tour. 9 shows, 900 tickets per show, so only 8100 available for the entire east coast. Odds started looking not so good.
Anywho, I was diligently registering at TicketMaster.com while DH checked the hotel we like in Asheville. It's cheap but right in the middle of downtown. At the stroke of 7 I pounced and clicked for our 2 tickets (the limit per order was 2) and still had to wait 3 minutes for the ticket availability.
Waited, and waited... Anticipation was killing me... Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand...
We're IN!!! And the best part: the tickets are only $20 each plus handling fee!
DH promptly registered the room we wanted for $68, so the entire trip is going to cost us jst over $100 since gas in his company truck is paid for. We're going to the July 2rd show (Monday night) and coming back the 3rd (Tuesday) and will have the 4th off for Independance Day. A concert, a trip, and a 5 day weekend to boot!! WOO and HOO!!!
As soon as we were done ordering we went downtown for a Thai Chicken pizza we've been craving. At 7:30 we heard the bartender complaining that tickets were already sold out....
Too lucky, I tell you.
And even better is knowing that there's already money in the li'l vacation fund to cover the trip. Just have to move the cash from NY to my checking account to pay the tickets off the credit card, and withdraw cash to pay for the hotel room.
May 21st, 2007 at 05:29 am
Really more of a philosophical musing than anything else, but feel free to respond!
I ask because I don't feel I'm saving enough. Then again, do you ever feel that you are?
On the surface it looks like my household ain't doin' that bad. I send almost 20% of our net off to the online bank every month. Sounds good, yes?
However, some of that I don't REALLY consider savings. How so? Well, that lump includes the monthly contribution I make to my irregular bills, like water, property taxes, and homeowner's insurance. Granted, I save the money up for a year (or quarter, in the case of water) and then spend it, so I guess it would qualify as short-term savings. But it doesn't 'feel' like savings, it feels like a bill. Probably because it is.
I feel somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard spot, as the saying goes. See, DH responds well when he wants to spend relatively big cash and I tell him that the money in the bank is allotted to X, Y, or Z. For instance, he understands that the homeowner's insurance and property taxes have to be paid no matter what because if we don't we loose our house, so that money is easy to see as sacred. But when money is sitting there without a purpose other than "in case we need it", he seems to see it as fair game.
So, perhaps I just need to mull over and find some more categories that are easy to see as sacred
For those that are wondering, here are the categories that account has so far:
Property Taxes: house
Property Taxes: car
Tina's Retirement (no 401k, so saving $ until I can open a Roth)
Car Maintenance Fund
Misc. Household Fund
May 20th, 2007 at 05:36 pm
OK, lemme re-phrase that: the homeowner's insurance bill came in and it's so not even a big deal.
Number one: the bill isn't due until 7/7/07 (which is neat, but I digress). I never knew they sent these types of bills out so far in advance!
Number two: I've been putting money aside for it every month so the bill will be ready to send out at the beginning of June, one month ahead of schedule and marked off my to-do list.
Although, I'll probably just send it in at the end of June so I can earn just a li'l more interest on that money
May 17th, 2007 at 06:37 am
For anyone with some time to kill http://icanhascheezburger.com/
For anyone who severly needs a laugh