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Archive for January, 2009

A Snow Day To Celebrate

January 28th, 2009 3 comments

What’s the name of that phenomena that happens after you get up in the morning, start to get ready for work, then look outside and realize there is almost 10 inches of snow on the ground? Why do you suddenly get a burst of energy nothing like what occurs on a regular work day? Even though I worked most of the day today from home, I had a sense of excitement and energy due to the snow canceling a day-long routine.

Another oddity. Once I realized I would not be leaving the house for a good 8 hours (once the neighborhood was cleared) I had all kinds of cravings and worries for things I might need and did not have in the house. Coffee. Did I have enough coffee?

Late in the afternoon I did venture out and to my surprise the roads that had been cleared were actually dry in some places (the sun started shining about noon, which helped). I took the opportunity to take some photos with my phone (pardon the low quality).

Categories: personal, photography Tags:

Calculate Your Comeback

January 26th, 2009 3 comments

investmentIf your portfolio losses look like this, then check out the Comeback Calculator courtesy of the New York Times. It’s not as bleak as it may seem, and history is certainly on your side. Stay the course with your asset allocation based on your age, projected age of retirement and risk tolerance and continue to fund your IRA, 401K or other retirement portfolio and hold tight.

Oh, and please seek the advice of your investment counselor before making any sudden or substantial money moves.

Categories: finance Tags:

Movie Fun Sunday . . . WALL-E

January 26th, 2009 1 comment

wall-e-logoA snowy Sunday afternoon in front of a blazing all natural gas fire included spending a couple hours with the Disney – Pixar movie Wall-E , delivered to my mailbox by via Netflix. Underlying themes include a love story between robots separated by 700 years plus a message of hope that humans, even though capable of trashing Earth, are a needed and vital part of its existence.

I prefer animated films that are light and fun, so Wall-E did not disappoint.  Excellent graphics and sound effects abound. Those sound effects have to carry the movie, since most of the “dialog” is robot beeps and squeaks among Wall-E and Eve. Other forms of communication include body language and facial expressions, which results in further engaging the audience.

Looking past the animated fun, some may see the film as a statement about the future of humans and the future of the earth. The earth is uninhabitable and humans have evolved into obese creatures fed a liquid diet, unable to walk on weakened bones caused by living in a near-gravity free environment.

I chose to put aside that part of the film and enjoy the more lighthearted aspects. I know the world has problems, I watch movies to get away from them for awhile! Wall-E is an excellent movie, just don’t think too hard about it.

Categories: movies Tags: ,

Marty vs. Showers: Bitter Rivals Meet

January 18th, 2009 3 comments

fistsThis morning, bitter rivals met in a long-standing battle of will. Because of their proximity, these rivals know each other well and Showers, the perennial favorite, has done well at holding ground.

What makes Showers so indomitable? It’s the sheer drudgery, knowing that to take down this opponent requires rarely used resources. And, even though victory is so sweet, often results in utter exhaustion.

Based on past meetings, Showers was the heavy favorite, as they often force opponents to walk away in disgust. The mounting losses used to just roll off my back, but lately it’s really been scorching me. I have had enough, the daily taunting, the constant reminders – so I devised a plan of attack.

A new offensive weapon was brought in to the game and after applying constant pressure to the dirty, stained, hard- nosed defense, the force became too much to handle and finally dissolved the opponent. How did I do it? With a new, heavily recruited weapon often called “industrial strength, effective and even friendly to the environment.”sgreen The ability to tackle the tough jobs has become second nature and I couldn’t be happier. The name of this weapon? Simple Green. Some would say it comes with the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

As I bask in the glow of this win, I’m reminded that soon enough, Showers will be back at the old tricks, delivering those ugly reminders that I’ll have to endure again and again. For now, all I can do is ignore it and move on, knowing I have what it takes to clean up next time.

Categories: personal Tags:

A Low Level of Agitation

January 18th, 2009 4 comments

sweaterSo I’m washing a few sweaters today in my clothes washer. It says on the tags to use cold water and the gentle cycle on the machine, which I am.

Just for giggles I thought I’d watch the action going on under the lid for awhile. I’m not real sure what is supposed to happen so I’m doing some research and found:

Agitation – the act of agitating something; causing it to move around (usually vigorously)

Agitated – troubled emotionally and usually deeply

Going by the first definition, I have to say that is not what is happening.

  • There is some movement but it’s far from vigorous and since the washer is set to gentle I’m not exactly expecting anything too violent.
  • The sweater on the top must be unable to swim since it’s determined not to be pulled under by the current.
  • After a good 5 minutes, the sweater on top still is floating with parts of it remaining dry.

Maybe gentle is too gentle? Before the second definition sets in, I gave the regular agitation setting a try and that setting is working, vigorously churning the sweaters from top to bottom through the water. Alas, the tags indicate a gentle setting is recommended. Nowhere does it say what the consequences are if those instructions are ignored, so I may become quite agitated (deeply troubled) when the machine is finished.

Categories: personal Tags:

Thinking positive in a down economy

January 8th, 2009 1 comment

I’m one that understands that the current economy affects many and therefore is a topic at the top of any news editor’s assignment board. We see story after story of how companies and lives are crumbling due to the decrease in consumer confidence, decrease in spending, credit not as freely available as it once was and a multitude of other factors.

I’d like to thank Safari Solutions, an Indianapolis based human resources firm, for publishing an email newsletter today that takes a different angle on today’s circumstances. The topics in the newsletter include “5 Benefits of Hiring in a Down Economy” along with “Low Cost Strategies for Hiring in a Down Economy.”

Ann Clifford, President, writes:
A tough economy presents opportunities for companies to hire top talent. Investing in “A” players can increase revenues, productivity, and profits. Doing business as usual with existing “B” players may not. Below are tips for taking a proactive stance in a sluggish economy!

Ron Giles, HR Consultant, continues:
Business owners may be fearful or hesitant to recruit during an economic downturn. However, if a sluggish economy is affecting your business, hiring top talent may energize your company and give you a competitive advantage when the market turns around. Benefits to hiring during a downturn include:

  • Larger pool of higher quality candidates.
  • Industry talent available from competitor closings.
  • Top performers available at affordable salaries.
  • Top talent may position your company to excel when the market improves.
  • Business owners can focus on high impact activities by delegating to proven performers.

Now isn’t that refreshing?

Categories: professional Tags: , ,

The day after this day: Carpet Cleaning

January 3rd, 2009 3 comments

Sad to say in my over 16 years of home ownership, I have only had the carpets cleaned once. In the first house I owned, the carpets were cleaned after I sold the house and moved out, in preparation for the new owners taking possession. The place I own now has not had the carpets cleaned since I moved in when construction was complete about 7 years ago. Starting tomorrow, that is changing.

I might claim the “how was I supposed to know?” excuse but truth be told I know carpet cleaning service is supposed to be performed about every 2 years. Why do I procrastinate so?Sears Carpet Cleaning

Sears Carpet Cleaning is arriving at my home at 8:00 am tomorrow and I’m well prepared. Most of my furniture is moved aside to non-carpeted areas so the job should be pretty easy. Best thing about this is that I’m using this event as motivation to take better care of my home. Generally I’m pretty good at keeping the house clean, but in the past few months I’ve let that chore rest. So here’s to motivation in 2009. Vacuuming every week, dusting, and keeping the furniture clean will do wonders. Right?

Categories: personal Tags: ,