April 27, 2005

Take Control of Your Life

Following in the footsteps of a fellow blogger, I have cancelled my Everquest accounts, both of them. I haven't played in many months, and still have half a year left on one subscription, but I've turned off the billing for both of them. Damn it, getting your out of control expenses in line is one of the first steps to financial maturity, and it's about time after 38 years that I take some steps. I also moved some debt from 11% to a 0% for a year credit card. I am TAKING control. Next step is to get rid of my Blockbuster-by-mail subscription. Netflix did it so much better, anyway, but I don't really need to watch so much TV.
It's spring - time for some spring cleaning don't you think? Sony has had me on their Everquest-drip for too long, if you ask me. It's worse than crack, because they keep improving it to make it better for those who stay on it the longest. The nail in the coffin? Veteran Rewards which give increasing skills to people like me who've been around 6 or 7 years. That's right - I started in 1999! Ugh - no more. I need to concentrate more on fewer things.

April 24, 2005

My Baby's Back!

My Canon Rebel came back from the factory. She's had the main PCBoard Assembly replaced in the unit. The camera is working now, although one of my lenses pooped out (the Quantary 28-80mm lens). It's got a 5-year warranty, and I still have the receipt and warranty info for it, so I'll be sending it in for repair (the zoom ring doesn't work - it's stuck at 28mm). Yellow/Red Tulip
Here is a tulip from my front yard taken with that very lens. This is about the last picture the lens took before she died on me. I can't imagine WHY it's doing this to me....sigh.

April 19, 2005

Ho Hum

Spring is here - and it's beautiful outside. I can't wait to get my camera back from Canon's service center....soon, soon... When I do, I'm going to take out a rider on my homeowner's policy on it. Looks like it's about $14 a year to protect a $900 investment against loss and theft. Considering how much I use my camera and how much I miss having it, that might be some cheap insurance.....
Well, not much else is going on - I've been playing plenty of chess in my spare time - trying to deepen my book knowledge, and get over some of my weaknesses as a player. Not very exciting for the reader, to be sure. Soon I'll have to hang up the chess pieces at least temporarily in favor of my golf clubs. Now, I'm no golfer, to be sure (I'd be lucky to actually shoot a hole in under 10, even a par 3), but I like to go out anyway and enjoy the day.

April 15, 2005

Interesting Chess Site and Greenzap

First things first - the GreenZap site is live again - preregister now and get $25 when they open this summer. They don't ask for any private info yet, so no harm pre-registering - you can decide later if there's any sign of them being a scam. The promo code is 'randomblings' - Get your free money now.
Now that you're independently wealthy....take some time out for Chess. Come play me a game at http://www.gameknot.com (UPDATE: STAY AWAY FROM GAMEKNOT aka CHESSCOLONY - THEY'RE A BUNCH OF UNPROFESSIONAL DOODY-HEADS!!!)- you can play multiple games at once, and there's a nify IE plugin to tell you when it's your turn. You play at play-by-email speeds (3 days in most cases alloted per move), so you can give games your full attention and make those brilliant moves.

SurfJunky Update III - Eternal Optimist

Color me an eternal optimist. I have left Surf Junky running for pretty much all the time. According to the website, my account has amassed earnings of $282.19. Today is April 15th, their own promised pay-by date via Paypal. Do I plan on getting paid? not really. Deep down I understand that the economic reality of the site is that it can't be true. Personal EarningsActivity
Points: 318
Payment rate: $0.6 per hour
Hours spent surfing: 557.60
Your earnings: $282.19
On the other hand, I've not suffered any loss by using the site, and the miniscule chance that they may actually pay out this month (their second month in full operation) is such that the eternal hopeful in me keeps checking my Paypal account. I figure I'll give up on checking for any money in a few days. Until then, paint me with that 'sucker' brush you've got in your hand. So many people on the Internet have said this is a scam that I don't understand why the site is still there. With this kind of money owed me, I can imagine someone with nothing better to do bringing it to small claims court for judgement against the site owner. From what I understand of them, though, they're probably used to that and don't care.

April 14, 2005

Resumes and Identity Theft

Hint for people looking for work. Your social security number should not be on your resume. With identity theft being the fastest rising crime of this century, you need to be more alert of where your social security number is needed. When you apply for a job, your social security number is needed to process your pay. However, your resume normally has a larger circulation. Recruiters, human resources personnel, supervisors, and even technical review personnel will have access to this document. They're not necessarily all honest people, or trained to properly care for (shred) such documentation. Please keep your SSN off the resume, and save it for when it's absolutely necessary.

April 13, 2005

Factory Service

I've sent my baby back to the factory to be repaired. We'll see how much it costs to have it fixed. It's hard to bear not having my Canon digital Rebel. It's a wonderful camera, and it sucks having it broken. It's a shame I'm an honest sort, I was thinking as I was on the phone with my insurance agent. I was close to considering taking a rider out on the camera and then waiting a month to claim it....ah, so tempting. Insurance fraud sucks, and I would never perpetuate it, but I can certainly see the allure.

April 12, 2005

Greenzap to Resume Service 13Apr?

Looks like GreenZAP is getting back online soon - They estimate to have their servers back in running order by 13 April 2005, according to an email sent to pre-registered users. Whether or not GreenZAP is going to be able to compete with Ebay's Paypal service is questionable, considering that Paypal has such deep links into the major market area of online auctions. But I'm willing to give them a try, especially considering the free $25 they're giving to new users, a deal just like the one that got me started on my Paypal account years ago.
I can't help but wonder how they're going to get any market penetration, especially since they won't be able to get the hooks into Ebay auctions since they're directly competing with them.

April 10, 2005

Signs of Spring

Lawnmowers humming, callouses growing, dirt under your fingernails, birds nesting in your mini-evergreens, hornets nests to clean out from under your oven vent. A deck to powerwash and paint and outside trim cracking off the house. A garage door that needs repairing, a carpet needing replacing, last year's garden turned to weed.

Ah, but the cut grass smells sweet, and now that the weeds have been pulled, the garden looks primed and ready for new plantings. The painters have come and powerwashed the deck, and tomorrow they'll sand, prime and paint the trim, sealing the deck on Wednesday. We've already held our first barbecue, and I just know the neighbors will be next. With the IRS savings plan, I may have enough this year to replace the carpet on the main level with oak hardwood flooring and an overlay carpet.. Perhaps I'll paint first...perhaps I won't do any of it..

April 06, 2005

GreenZAP growing pains

Remember signing up for Paypal, not believing you'd ever collect your $25? Well, a new competitor has sprung up calling itself GreenZAP (get it, ZAP some green, whatever...obvious). Well, their site is having problems serving up content. If you want your free money, just click here to pre-register. They're not asking for any private info yet, so no harm done (unless you're not already a recipient of massive amounts of SPAM and they just want your email)... Since I already get 1000's of SPAM messages, I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained.
They sent out an email warning of their growing pains on their network. I can imagine - give away free money, invite lots of web traffic...again, watever...obvious. The 'invite' word you need to sign up is 'randomblings'. Benefits for signing up others with your own made up keyword.

April 05, 2005

Ear Infections Suck

When you have a child with an ear infection, there is not much you can do until the antibiotics kick in. You can give them Tylenol, or Motrin for older kids, but the plain truth is that their ear hurts, painfully, and you can't fix it. They will wake up in the middle of the night, and it will be difficult to get them back to sleep. It sucks, blows chunks, etc.... and I would like to kill the bastard who decided to give my kid the gene that makes him succeptible (sp?) to these things (*Note: agnostic speaker...).

April 04, 2005

A Hole in the Theory

Nature Magazine has published an article by physicist George Chapline disputing the existence of black holes as we have thought about them for years. Rather than a collapsed star that sucks in and destroys everything that falls within its event horizon, they may instead be masses of that elusive 'dark energy' that astrophysicists have been looking for all these years. The article mentions that the matter sucked into a black hole may instead be converted by this dark energy and bounced back as anti-matter (electrons become positrons - reverse-charge electrons), colliding with inbound matter.
Considering that even Stephen Hawking has admitted to being wrong about black holes (albeit in a different theoretical discussion regarding preservation of informational state) we quiet observers of the science world should remember to keep our eyes and ears tuned to current research. We teach these elements of science to our children, and we should make sure that they get the current theory when we're talking to them, so that they understand just what is meant by the word 'theory'.

April 03, 2005

Free Money at Greenzap!

Remember when you signed up for Paypal and they gave you free money? Well, there' a new money by email service starting up on the web - Greenzap. You can pre-register now, but you'll need a pre-registration code. The code word is 'randomblings'. If you click on that link there, it'll pre-fill it in for you. Where else can you get $25 for free? The days of free money may be coming back to the 'net. Get yours NOW before the companies go bust again ;)

April 02, 2005

Checking out Yahoo's 360o service

Got an invite to Yahoo's 360o service today and invited a few friends. If you'd like an invite to this invite-only beta, I have heaps of invites left. Just ask for one (I'll need your email address).

April 01, 2005

New Chess Games Posted

I replaced the chess games I had posted with some from 1/2005-3/2005 that I played at FICS. Right now, the chess game viewer works best with the default skin. I didn't take into account my alternate pages when doing the skins.