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Archive for April, 2006

I Used To Do This

April 23rd, 2006 at 08:57 pm

I had to smile when I saw this one because I used to do it - not necessarily for giving hope, but to bring a smile to their faces. It's funny watching people. Lots would simply walk by, but those who stop and pick up pennies almost always have a smile on their face like they have found a hidden treasure. Try it sometime!



From Post Secret

MSN Search Promotion

April 22nd, 2006 at 10:43 pm

MSN Search is having a "search and win" promotion to try and win more people to over to their search engine. You simply search like you normally would and if you7re lucky, a "Use MSN Search...And Win!" link will appear among the regular links. You then click on that link and see if you have won an instant prize. Some of the prizes include:

A Toshiba flat screen TV
A Carnival cruise for 2
A Crate & Barrel gift card
A year subscription to NetFlix
AMC theater gift card
A REI gift card
A Nordstrom's gift card
A Baby Gap gift Card
A Starbucks gift card
An Amazon gift certificate
A Callaway golf club

A really nice part of the promotion is that in addition to prizes you can win for yourself, you can also win prizes for your favorite non profit charity:

A technology makeover for your favorite non-profit organization
A $10,000 cash award for your favorite non-profit organization
A $25,000 cash award for your favorite non-profit organization
A $50,000 cash award for your favorite non-profit organization

Spammed To Death

April 20th, 2006 at 08:45 am

Just wanted to give a big apology to the few of you who had the spam bots get through our defenses - if you were one of them, you'll know because your mailbox probably has close to 100 emails of posts to your blog in it. I spent over 2 hours today deleting spam messages on blogs here (if you come across ones that I missed, send me an email so I can clear them out) and clearing out my mailbox (let's just say it wasn't a pretty site with hundreds upon hundreds of spam posts) While it wasn't good at all, the barriers that Nate did set up worked on more than 90% of them (we still got them all though).

Nate will be adding another (hopefully today) barrier to try and foil the ones that got through this time.

It's days like today that I have to remind myself that I really do love this job Wink

Show Me Your Coin Jar!

April 10th, 2006 at 08:14 am

Okay, I admit it. I have a curiosity of people's coin jars. I love it when I visit a house for the first time and they have their coin jar in full view. I find it interesting the way that people collect their coins. Even though almost everyone in the world does it, no two coin jars are quite the same.

Some people will put bills in with the coins while other wouldn't be caught dead doing so. Sometimes the coin jar becomes a mini pack-rat collection of small things with screws, thumb tacks, paper clips and rubber bands thrown into the mix. Other times the coin jars are so neat that the family has a different jar for each different type of coin: penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar and dollar. Some families have a community coin jar where everyone leaves their coins together, while other families have a coin jar for each individual.

"Jar" is also used extremely loosely here. While a good many are made of glass, just as many are made of different material in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes the coin jar was a default - the only thing around to hold coins when the person decided they needed to start a coin jar while other times it has been carefully chosen by the person to match his or her tastes.

I've had a wide variety of coin jars over the years. I'm the type that ends up using whatever happens to be around when I need to put a pocket full of change down. Currently I use two drawers next to my desk as my "coin jar" These are supposed to hold paper, but I defaulted them to my coin jar due to convenience. My wife ends up getting a lot of packages from her hobby/business and most of them are pay on delivery. That means I need easy access to coins quickly when the doorbell rings and a package needs to be paid for and the two drawers have proven to be the most convenient place thus far. Truly, there should only be one drawer, but for some reason I didn't specify which particular one when I first decided to make them my new coin jar and so they ended up in one or the other drawer. Being too lazy to dump all the coins from one drawer to the other, both ended up being coin jars together.



I think that the coin jar tells a little bit about you. my double drawer coin jar is typical of me. As you probably have already guessed, my wife's coin jar is Hello Kitty. Hers is actually a tin can and fits perfectly on a shelf in the living room. Not only is it neatly placed, you can also see that it is rather neat on the inside as well with only a few coins. Unlike me, she is good at spending the coins when she has the opportunity and thus her coin jar never gets that full and the two highlight our differences in this area.



I've often used money jars to help me remember people. For some reason, they have always been distinctive to me even when they were quite similar to someone else's. There has been more than one time when I've been asked by a someone, "Do you remember so and so?" and my reply would be "Oh, you mean they guy that has in coins in German beer stein with the half naked lady on it." At that point I would usually get a blank stare like I was half crazy since nobody but me would have noticed -- until I finished "yes, I remember him..."

I can still remember the money jar that my dad had when I was growing up. All his coins went into a a Miami of Ohio Beer college beer mug that sat on his dresser and later got moved into the closet changing room. my best friend from elementary school to high school had his in huge water cooler bottle and I remember when he decided to turn all the coins in we couldn't even lift it up it was so heavy.

Have a coin jar? Take a photo of it, place it in your blog or site and leave a comment here. I'd love to see it - a description on why you chose it would be all the better. I'll link back to one and all and can't wait to see what else everyone stashes their coins in...

Coin Jars Around The Blogosphere

Barb's Coin Jar: Armywife's Journal
Jane Dough's Coin Jar: Boston Gal's Open Wallet
CollegeSaver's Coin Jar: Life of a Poor College Student
Princess Perky's Coin Jar: Princess Perky's Page
Dawn's Coin Jar: Frugal For Life
Contrary1's Coin Jar: Contrary1'$ Money Musings
RS's Coin Jar: Young Professionals Financial Blog
kashi's Change Jar: kashi's journal

Cherry Blossoms In Kobe Japan

April 8th, 2006 at 07:01 am

Spring is in the air and the cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom. That meant that we had to go out for cherry blossom viewing and none of this casually walking around viewing - my wife wanted to get dressed in her best spring kimono (with cherry blossom obi) to go out and view them. So today we took off at 4:00pm and did the rounds - here are a few photos from the trip:

Before we even left to get to the cherry blossoms, I had to take photos of the kimono:











We arrived to view the cherry blossoms with still a bit of daylight left outside:





but before long the sun started to go down:



Before it got completely dark I had to get at least one close-up



And as dusk turned to darkness, they turned lights onto the cherry trees







If it doesn't rain this week, we'll probably make one more trip to view the cherry blossoms (if it rains, then they all fall off). The cherry blossoms only last about a week, but Spring is now here.

What's On Your Desk?

April 5th, 2006 at 10:13 am

Well, I couldn't pass up this opportunity. Bill Gates wrote an article appearing on Money.com titled How I Work: Bill Gates As you can imagine, Bill and I work a tad differently so I thought I would go through some of the differences:


Bill Gates' Desk
photo by Robyn Twomey from money.com

From the article, here is a nice photo of Bill Gates and his desk. this is what he has to say in relation to it and his office:

If you look at this office, there isn't much paper in it. On my desk I have three screens, synchronized to form a single desktop. I can drag items from one screen to the next. Once you have that large display area, you'll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity.

The screen on the left has my list of e-mails. On the center screen is usually the specific e-mail I'm reading and responding to. And my browser is on the right-hand screen. This setup gives me the ability to glance and see what new has come in while I'm working on something, and to bring up a link that's related to an e-mail and look at it while the e-mail is still in front of me...

The one low-tech piece of equipment still in my office is my whiteboard. I always have nice color pens, and it's great for brainstorming when I'm with other people, and even sometimes by myself.

The whiteboards in some Microsoft offices have the ability to capture an image and send it up to the computer, almost like a huge Tablet PC. I don't have that right now, but probably I'll get a digital whiteboard in the next year. Today, if there's something up there that's brilliant, I just get out my pen and my Tablet PC and recreate it.


As you can see, Bill Gates has a nice clean desk with hardly a piece of paper in site. Here, on the other hand, is my desk:



Not only does my desk have lots of paper, it has numerous low tech stuff too. Unlike Bill, I only have a single screen computer and since my desk (okay, I know, it isn't really a desk - it's an old dining table, but I call it my desk) is so small, I probably will never know about the truth of "once you have that large display area, you'll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity" because there is no room on my desk for a large display screen. That solves that Wink

While Bill has all his emails on his left screen, I have all my emails in a gmail account. Bill probably wouldn't be very happy with me about that. Bill's center screen is what he is usually working on - my only screen is what I'm working on, so you can see there are some very close resemblances between the two of us. Bill's browser is on the right screen - mine is mixed up with whatever I'm working on.

Bill also has a whiteboard (not shown in his photo) and I have a corkboard (not shown in my photo - see even more similarities!). His whiteboard is "low tech" My corkboard is also "low tech" - he will be getting a high tech whiteboard in the near future with the ability to capture images and send it to his computer. I will likely keep my corkboard and it already has the ability to makes things stick to it if I stick a pin through it (I like this a lot). Since Bill doesn't have a high tech whiteboard at the moment, he takes out his pen and Tablet PC and creates his brilliant ideas. I take out my Hello Kitty pen and Hello Kitty note pad (courtesy of my entrepreneurial wife) and scribble down my random thoughts.

As you can see, Bill Gates' desk and My Desk have quite a bit in common. I'm sure that this has intrigued you enough that I should go through some of the other things on my desk in Stop Buying Crap What's In Your Wallet fashion.



To the right I have my low tech calculator and my Hello Kitty notepad with a piece of plain paper (this upsets my wife to no end since there is no cute character on it) below where I write my random thoughts. If you look closely to the left, you can see my "Change Drawer" - this is a more convenient place for me to keep my change than in a jar.



To the right of my computer screen is my mini shelf with the book "The Big Money" that just came in the mail that I'm supposed to review. Hanging on the side is my yellow good luck charm from the God of Wealth with lots of random papers that need to be sorted (they will remain that way until my wife yells at me to clean it up).



On the left side of the desk are a bunch of sake cups and medals that I took out last week to put on eBay and still haven't gotten around to doing so. I hope to get to them soon, but probably won't until eBay forces my hand by having another sale. I also have my tin can pen and pencil bucket from Tokyo Disneyland.

I'm sure there are things of interest I left out - feel free to ask in the comment section and I will elaborate on anything you see that I forgot to mention. Oh, and of course put up photos of your desk and let us all know what is on it (and if you get really ambitious, you can compare it to Bill Gates' desk too)

Other Desks Out There

Financial Freedumb's Desk
Princess Perky's Page's Desk
Retire Young & Wealthy's Desk
The Internet Cash Flow Guy's Desk

Bright Money Making Idea

April 1st, 2006 at 11:51 pm

I love coming across people that look at a situation and come up with a way to make extra money from it. Here is an 18 year old that will probably make a few hundred dollars this spring vacation by helping out people with a common problem:

Eighteen-year-old Evan Kelso is offering to change every digital clock in a customer's home or car after all of Indiana goes to daylight saving time this weekend for the first time in more than 30 years. His fee: $10.

Kelso, a senior at Bishop Luers High School, said he came up with the idea as Indiana lawmakers sniped about time zones and daylight-saving time. He said he and his father are always trying to think up new ways to make a little extra cash...
Entire Article

He is certainly thinking and it goes to show that there are lots of situations you can take advantage of to make a little extra money.