Tuesday, October 27, 2015

$30,000 Note Pad

I had attended this little college back in the early 1980's and could not get a job in my field upon graduation, or even so much as a job interview. It really is who you know and not what you know when looking for that first opportunity, but I did not know anybody, at least anybody in corporate America. I eventually went to work for my Father's company, but he was not of the philosophy that I should be paid very much, and that position eventually petered out, after my surviving five years or so. Three-plus decades later my first college is sending me little gifts, asking for donations to the school, which I am, unfortunately, unable to provide.

Here is their latest gift, a little note pad. Since I blew about $30,000 on that education, I figure this is a $30,000 note pad. Here it is:

$30,000 Note Pad

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It gets tiring being such a nice guy.......

I was thinking this morning how tiring it's been, being such a "nice guy", accentuated by the fact that many of the not-so-nice guys I know are now wealthy.

I had just arose from a night of near-sleep where my two outdoor dogs, or the ones I am training actually, for their absentee wealthy estate owner and known as relatively not such a nice guy, kept me awake half the night barking at shadows and then proceeded to chew up my new lounge chair, which was not cheap. The site that greeted me this morning was my new lounge chair in pieces scattered across the front porch.

I know, they're young dogs, but I have been training them in basic dog commands, come, sit, stay, etc. and have grown quite fond of them as a pair and I thought they liked me. I mean, how could they not? I'm such a nice guy. Although I train them with firmness, it is with affection. And this is how they thanked me.

It then dawned on me, how all us "nice guys" go through this process on a routine basis that usually goes like this; you meet somebody. You're nice to them and help them out, or let them borrow your stuff and then they start to take advantage and then you're not feeling like such a nice guy any more, but it's too late....

Or the girl "friends" back in my school days who I wanted to date seriously, but was too nice to them at the start and then became a trusted friend and the bang-potential went right out the window. Oh boy, that Kurt, he's such a good guy, they would gush. The sweeter of a guy I was, the less chance I had of getting laid. One day, I was letting them cry on my shoulder over some other luckier guy who was kind of a bad boy and the next day, the luckier, not-so-nice guy is getting a blow-job from my special girl "friend." Oh, she's such a good friend........

So pay attention nice guys. Prepare to pay the price..........
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Friday, October 9, 2015

Proof that Facebook is Worthless for Business

I have been attempting a career change since around November of 2014 after twelve years in the chiropractic profession, when I signed up for Realtourvision.com, a real estate virtual tour company that offers virtual real estate tours of properties for sale.

I also built a website concentrating on niche website design using pre-built templates (digimatrix) that can be easily customized, meaning very affordable and slick websites for small businesses.

I entered 2015 with high hopes for both ventures, making do with occasional manual labor jobs to support the startups.

So I published my websites and made it clear on my Facebook account that this is what I was doing and placed information there as well, with links to the sites. So, after almost a year, I haven't received so much as one business lead from my almost 200 "Friends" list, some of whom are very successful, but I have to admit, I haven't sent any leads to my "Friends" either. In my defense, if I am not doing any business, I really don't have the connections to benefit my network.

I think that the term, "Friends" on Facebook should at least be replaced with something like, "People who are watching you to make sure you get no business."

Anyway, I have begun to avoid the Facebook lately, and I swear, my mood has improved immensely.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Graduating Class Wealth

I received my yearly request for donations from the little college I had attended for two years, before transferring to a Mega-University on an athletic scholarship, back in the early 1980's and, naturally, I still couldn't make any meaningful monetary contribution, due to various bad career decisions and countless other economic obstacles through the years.

I did find it interesting however, to compare the top five contributing classes and their rank, assuming this was a reflection on their relative financial success since graduation, as compared to other graduating years in the continuum.

Here are the current rankings:

First place was class of '68. No surprise here. They've had a lot of time to earn the big bucks and saw great benefits from the industrial boom era.

Second place was the class of '78. 1978 was the best year ever actually, according to this article: 

Third place was the class of '73. Very good.

In fourth was the class of 1988, just in time for the economic recovery from the recession of the early 1980's.

Fifth place was my class, 1983, which does not surprise me. I know of very few in my class who went anywhere, really. We came after the industrial and baby booms and before the tech boom. A lost generation.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Don't Trust Dick's

I made a fairly large Xmas purchase at Dick's Sporting Goods recently and let the cashier talk me into applying for a Dick's credit card in exchange for a $25.00 discount, on the spot.

Now I'm old enough to know that credit cards can quickly build up interest charges and late payment penalties, if you forget about them for any length of time. So, I made a mental note to pay that thing off as soon as the physical card came in, which I did.

So what do I get in return for being a responsible consumer and paying my bills on time? A $25.00 charge on my next statement. So the $25.00 discount is a big, fat lie. And I suspect that this is the scam at every big retailer, when they make this offer, so, unless you need another credit card, say no at the register, because you will pay, one way or another, for any favors they may offer you.

Keep an eye on these banks and credit card companies. They are designed to rob you blind. Put that money under the mattress.


The best cure for credit card fees

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Winterizing my window air conditioner

My stupid central heating and air conditioning system quit on me back in March of 2014, just in time for the stinkin' hot Tennessee summer. This was a new townhouse five years ago. The builder apparently gave me "half a ventilation system, to save money and make more profit on the project", according to one anonymous AC pro I consulted with on the system's shitty performance very often over the last five years. This after they removed all the trees from the back of the property soon after I signed on the dotted line. If you get the urge to purchase a new property from "Creative Homes", run, don't walk away. Expect paper-thin walls and half a ventilation system, to start. 

In a prime example, here's the latest announcement from the original developers, a change from residential to commercial zoning right behind the property, so it will be constant construction for the foreseeable future:

Greedy Developers in Action

Getting back to my particular unit, So the system ran constantly and the upstairs still remained too hot or too cold, compared to the downstairs, until eventually it wore out prematurely, due to doing the work of two separate units. Plus, utility bills were huge, in the half my time I spent actually living here, in this Godforsaken backwater I accidentally got stuck in for way too long, due to a crappy real estate market back in 2009. I guess I really got screwed on my first-ever home purchase. I always learn the hard way, which means I am too soon old and too late smart. (See builder website link, Creative Homes).

Anyways, I had to eventually install a massive Frigidaire A/C window unit, due to the hot summer season, and it did a great job keeping at least the downstairs bearable through the warm summer. Problem is that it's now Winter and the A/C is letting in the cold air, so I "winterized" it.

I don't have any experience with such things, never having had a wall AC unit before in my past living spaces, so I did what made sense to me and applied sealing and insulation around the outside window. Here is how I did it:

Step One - Put wide duct tape around the edges.
I used epoxy tape from my radon mitigation days for securing the plastic liner, but before sticking this to the wall, you will want to lay some tape down, so you will be able to remove the whole contraption in the Spring. Epoxy tape itself is fairly permanent, so you don't want to stick it directly to the building.

Be sure and tape fully around the unit.

Next measure out enough plastic sheeting to attach to the perimeter.

Next, you want to cut enough plastic sheeting to cover the tape around the perimeter. I used vapor barrier from my radon mitigation and crawlspace-sealing days. This particular brand is 6 mil thick. Here is a link to a 6 mil, 20x25 ft. sheet: Warp Bros 6 mil.

After you cut your sheet of plastic, keep it at the ready.

Cut the Eternabond with quick, short strokes with a box-cutter

Be careful to peel the two-sided tape sticky side to the wall first.

Next, peel the plastic off the outer side of the Eternabond.

Next, carefully stick the plastic to the sticky side of the entire perimeter.

Smooth around the edges to make sure the plastic has an airtight seal. Then wrap insulation around the plastic cover, using small strips of Eternabond tape to secure the insulation. Then wrap duct tape around the insulation to hold it in place.

Lastly, wrap another layer of plastic around the whole thing, sticking it to what's left exposed of the Eternabond on the edges, to ensure that no water leaks in and soaks your insulation layer.

Not pretty, but effective.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Uber Over

I do believe my time driving for Uber is over, for the most part. First, they started charging me $10.00 a week for my phone, which they had already charged me $100 for, I believe was the figure, when I started some months ago. Keep in mind the software in this special iPhone was Uber dedicated, meaning it was no good for my personal use.

Everything was fine though, as it stood then. I was eking out a living with that setup. Then, for some reason, Uber saw fit to start charging the extra $40/month. That made it generally a non-profitable venture. So I sent the phone back, in the envelope they sent me, with the promise to get my own iPhone and resume employment.

Shopping for iPhones it soon became apparent that this is a whole other racket unto itself, the whole smartphone biz, with the two year contracts, fuzzy fine print on thick packets of forms requiring my signature, signing God-knows what, and early cancellation penalties approaching five to six hundred dollars in some cases.

With the iPhone, the only phone that works with the Uber driver app, you can either buy the phone, around $500, depending on the age of the model desired, or pay for it over a two year period, which is added to your monthly phone bill, at around an extra $22.00/month. So you have this two year financing deal and a two year contract, on a phone that will be obsolete in two years, where the whole cycle will then be repeated.

Dear Uber and iPhone providers, feel free to take a hike.