Where am I?

November 24, 2012

It’s odd how time can fly. You blink twice and the next thing you know half the year has flown by. Sorry for being silent lately.

So where have I been? Well, there was Vacation Bible School (VBS) this past Summer. I spent six weeks designing and building an 8-foot by 3-foot HO-scale train layout for the kids. They loved it! (It is currently sitting behind my chair as I type this.) I will have to upload the photos for you.

There was also my experiment with Neobux. I ended up cashing out $8.76 for only clicking on simple little ads. For the amount of “work” involved, it was a relatively easy $8.76 I’ve made in recent years.

Then of course there was the Presidential Election. Regardless of your political affiliation, Presidential Elections are always fun and exciting. With this being the prime season for my political site, most of my free time was directed there.

So what’s left? We have the holidays coming around, meaning free time will be consumed with either preparations for the holidays (and holiday shopping) and end-of-the-year work at the office. Plus there is all the work at the new house, so I think all my vacation time will be spent scrubbing walls and ceilings rather than enjoying the skyline from Chicago rooftops or nature from mountain camping. Maybe that is what awaits in 2013.

Until then folks, I hope you have a very special holiday season, and may 2013 bring you many good fortunes!

Speechless – haiku

February 25, 2012

Sitting here in thought

Dying to say how I feel

Screaming in silence

– Author unknown

Bin Laden Dead

May 3, 2011

This is definitely a great day/week for the United States.  Not that we should ever rejoice in the death of an individual, but the removal of Osama Bin Laden from the equation in the War on Terror is definitely an emotional and strategic boost for the nation.  Congratulations to all the hard work over the past 9+ years by our intelligence, military personnel, and government contractors.  Keep up the good work!

However, I am a little bummed.  I’ve always wanted to see Bin Laden captured, tried, and punished by having to wear a bright pink jumpsuit while he tended White House lawn.  Oh well, there is always Gaddafi.  (I jest … well, maybe a little.)

The problems with ‘progress’

May 3, 2011

As you know, I put a lot of work into my yard. Trying to get grass to grow (as well some of my plants) isn’t as easy as you would think it should be. I’ve even come close to throwing in the towel and simply put down mulch to cover over the bare spots. But since I live on the fringe of the woods, I want to try to maintain as much of the natural beauty as possible.

Of course, my development wouldn’t exist without destroying the natural beauty that existed. With progress comes some sort of destruction, and that is what is currently going on with the new development that is being built near my house. Every day, when I drive passed the construction site, more and more trees are gone, and more dirt has been moved to level out the original hill that existed there. But even with this destruction comes a bit of beauty … if you’re an engineer like I use to be.

Tree MulcherThe size and shapes of some of the equipment they’ve brought in to do the site development are impressive. I’ve seen Volvo dump trucks, tree mulchers (see photo), and even JCB backhoes. In just a few days, they were able to clear-cut approximately 20 acres and are currently leveling the lot. In the past, it would have taken an army of wood cutters to do all this work, but now they can do it with about 20 or 30 workers. Very impressive.

But while it is impressive, I wish they would have done a better job of preserving the existing trees and build the new homes around them. That is what the developers of our neighborhood did, and we are surrounded by full-growth trees. It will take 20 years to recover (environmentally) the amount of damage the site developer has done. I know it is cheaper to do it this way, but there is value to be saved by saving at least “some” of the trees.

Rhythm Of Love – Plain White T’s

May 1, 2011

I just love this song.  Very light, sweet, and upbeat.  The video matches the mood of the music as well, with people having a good time down at the beach.  Hope you love it too!

Money, Money, Money

April 30, 2011

I’m a huge ABBA fan.

That statement alone is enough to make any article complete, but I have a few more minutes to write before my laptop battery dies, so let me expand.  One of ABBA’s biggest hits was a song called “Money, Money, Money.”  In the song, the singer is upset about their current financial position and is dreaming about marrying someone with money to make their life better.  (If you recall my article about the lotto a few months back, even I dream about having more money.)

While marrying someone rich or winning a lotto might make our days “Always sunny,” it is more likely that through practical financial planning that we will be wealthy (or at least wealthier) as we grow older.  So what is financial planning?  In short, it is looking at how much you spend compared to how much you earn.  The less you spend, the more you can save.  With the money you save, you can invest in different ways to grow your nest egg while protecting your financial future.  Much of this can be done by simply balancing your checkbook, using financial advisory tools from your bank, or even using a free budget planner online.

However you choose to track your spending and savings is up to you.  By simply seeing where your money goes can help you make smarter financial decisions.  The same holds true if you run a website and wish to make money off of it.  If you are earning less than what your are spending to run it, then you are on the wrong end of the business (financial) spectrum.  You can always look for hosts that offer lower rates or seek out better working relationships with your advertisers and sellers.

As the song goes:

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain’t it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That’s too bad

If you find yourself in that position, examine your finances and see what you can do to have more at the end of the month. The economy is tight right now, but it will get better. The improvements you make to your spending habits now can definitely help you win the future, and hopefully that will leave you with “Money, Money, Money” by the time you retire.

Heart’s Quest – a poem

April 18, 2011

I take one step, to begin my life’s quest,
Looking for answers to my hearts unrest.

Once more I step, as I try to find,
Validation to feelings that fill my mind.

Each step I take, Every answer obtained,
Yields new questions left to be explained.

One last step, my heart reveals to me, this
Underlying message for you to see.

Author unknown