Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thank you, “G…” for wasting my time

Such was among the parting words of a perspective seller from Craig’s list.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Next Bubble to Bust

Happy days are here again - housing is working itself out of its doldrums and stocks have been surging for the past several years.  I know my retirement accounts are looking much healthier so with my cup half fully, why do I worry about the half that is empty?  Perhaps it is from recently reading Michael Lewis’ Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World or maybe it was a recent Facebook posting chirping an explanation of the fiscal cliff or perhaps it was Greece coming around to the brink of default once again.   The convergence of these 3 events lead me to wonder, "what if the housing meltdown is merely a prelude to a larger event?"

One of the interesting tidbits that are provided in our (United States) annual tax (1040) instructions are 2 pie charts reflecting major categories of Income and Outlays for the federal government.  I thought it would be interesting to grab some of these charts from the past 15 or so years to see if I could spot any warning signs.  After a quick internet search, I was able to produce the following charts for 1990, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2013.  (This was purely an unscientific grab, trying to space out years and avoid years where there may have been an atypical event such as in 2001...although in thinking about the past 15 years and the "tech wreck, 9-11, 3 wars, the housing melt down and government bailouts who knows what a "typical" year looks like).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

IT super user training

It is strange how one is sometimes able to recall a seemingly innocuous conversation years after it taking place.  For me it was around 1998 (which I mark due related work involving Windows 98… good thing they didn’t call it “Purple Leopard”) and it was with Bill, who expressed to me that he believed we had a window of opportunity that was quickly closing to make a career change to the work of information technology (IT).  Bill was a registered nurse (RN) and I was a licensed social worker and we were working in the world of substance abuse and mental health.  At that time, many technologies were still in their infancy.  Microsoft was close to delivering the death blow to products like Word Perfect, Lotus 123 and Netscape Navigator and someone would more likely say “what’s a google” than “Google it”.  There were not an abundance of “experts” because much of the exciting stuff was too new to have experts.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Cruise 2015 on Renssellaer Lake (Six Mile Waterworks)

I've been a bit stressed and cranky as of late and instead of writing a tempting social commentary quip on any one of many sources of irritation, I've elected to offer a brief quip to share a few photos and thoughts from my recent yachting cruise to the great (ok local) Renssellaer Lake (also known as Six Mile Waterworks).  As I've noted in my prior posts, my "yachting" is done on a budget - using an affordable inflatable boat purchased from a Dick's Sporting Goods sale, a hand air pump from Big Lots, a life preserver from a lawn sale and an affordable kayak paddle from the Sports Authority.  This is married with my usual cheap sunglasses, my flap hat, swimsuit, flip-flops, bottle of water and spare quart jug.  Yes, with imagination and the Barney bag, you too, can afford a fabulous cruise.  For those who are less adventurous, I would recommend going to the Colonie Mall and booking an excursion with LL Bean as has been suggested in my prior posts.  This is a great way to sample the lake and not have to haul a lot of equipment.  If you find that you really enjoy it, go a second time and if still enthused then consider purchasing some equipment.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

In defense of the Duggars

Now there’s a title post I never thought I’d be writing… no, I’m not a fan; I’ve never watched their show and have no desire to start.  Truth be told the whole idea of 19 kids sort of makes me nauseous… and I’ve had more than one inappropriate thought about what should be done with Jim Bob’s active organ.  (Currently, I'm torn between either a date with Lorena Bobbitt or a pay per view vasectomy...ok, maybe Lorena Bobbitt performing the pay per view vasectomy).  Among my unlikely heroes this year is Eddie Murphy who refused to take a poke at Bill Cosby – citing the age old prohibition of kicking someone when they’re down.  And so it is with the Duggar clan.  As with Cosby, we spectators can watch as all those who rode the wave suddenly run for the shore.