"Should've Been A Cowboy"

Monday, January 30, 2006

Printing Job Day 1

today was my first day at bajito onda. it was quite a change of pace for me. instead of waking up at 5am to be at work by 7am i woke up at 8am to be at work at 10am. i'll probably start waking up at 7am so that i can workout before work, but today wasn't a good day to start that routine because i went to bed at 2am last night. i really enjoyed my time at bajito onda today. there are only a few people that work there. each of which has a very unique personality and this makes for quite a dynamic environment. for the next couple of week i will be getting to know more about the different printing processes that bajito onda does as well as getting to know my new co-workers. i will also be finding out more about how i will benifit the company as i assume my multifaceted role.

i say this with the assumption that i will be able to work there. this is going to sound totally off, but we really haven't discussed my salary yet. bajito onda is a non-profit organization that uses printing as a source of fund raising for its main purpose, which is promoting world peace by helping teens stay out of gangs and also help former convicts get established back into society. the job that i will be doing for the company would generally merit a 40k-45k salary for a beginner, but i can't help but wonder if they will be able to pay me 30k. i can live off of 30k and i wouldn't mind taking a less than average salary for a non-profit. especially since it wouldn't be my only form of income, but i do have to be able to pay my bills. i really don't look at this opportunity as a job. i see it as a great learning experience, because i don't have a lot of experience on that side of the design world, and i also see it as another way to make a difference in the lives of others. the more successful i can make the printing side of bajito onda the more bajito onda can make a difference in the lives of others.

i've really generalized how bajito onda helps the community and the world as a whole. after i've been there a while i'm sure i'll be able to write in more detail about what bajito onda really does. if by chance i'm not able to work there for financial reasons. i'll still make it a point to be a part of bajito onda in one way or another because i truly believe that they can make a difference in the world.

one more thing. if i do continue to work at bajito onda i will not be able blog as much as i have over the last 5 months. this is because i will be working a fast paced job that leaves little time for writing post. much less checking email.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Last Day

today is the end of my 6.25 year career with the bank. for the last week i have hardly worked. this is the break down.

day / at work / hours worked

fri 20th / 8 hours / 0.0 hours
mon 23rd / 7 hours / 2.0 hours
tue 24th / 8 hours / 0.5 hours
wed 25th / 8 hours / 1.5 hours
thu 26th / 8 hours / 0.0 hours
fri 27th / 6 hours / 0.0 hours

that comes out to about a 11% efficientcy rating. it's a good thing they didn't expect much out of me, because i wasn't motivated to do much anyway. actually they are sending me and the others off in quite a nice fassion. wednesday our manager brought us tequitos that she made at home, they were so good, and today they are taking us out to lunch at On The Border and throwing a punch n' cookie party afterward. i could complain about being laid off from the bank, but that isn't my style and it is hard to complain about something that is creating so many good things in my life. i actually could have stayed with the bank if i wanted too. i was more than welcome to apply for another position within the organization. they even assigned us a personal recruiter, but it was time. time for me to leave. by leaving i am now allowed to obtain my securities license and sale securities products as a part-time financial planner. by leaving the bank i get an $8925.00 severance package. by leaving the bank i have been forced to search for a new job, and i might have found the perfect opportunity with a company called bajito onda.

at this moment all i can say is, thank you God. thank you for loving me and providing for me. even during time when i don't think i deserve it. thank you for not giving up on me even when i turn you down. thank you for blessing me even when i take myself too seriously and you not seriously enough.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ice Cream Date?

during the early part of november i introduced myself to a new neighbor named darlene. here is an excerpt from a post that noted the event.

after arriving at my apartment and picking up my package i took it back to my apartment. while walking up to my apartment i saw a girl, who moved in about a month ago, washing the brake dust off of her car's wheels. as i walked into my apartment i decided that i should go and introduce myself to her. i had a couple of motives for this. one being that i have only met two other people in my complex over the last 18 months. neither of which i have seen again. two, she is new and people should get to know their new neighbors. three, for my business i need to meet new people that i can help with their finances or at least people that can introduce me to other new people. last but not least, she was cute and i'm single. said cute girl is named darlene. after talking to her from about 10 minutes i came to the conclusion that she is cool and i think we would get along quite well, but she isn't dating material. at least not for me. the reason she moved to my complex is that her and her now ex-boyfriend broke up. leading me to believe that our moral values are a bit different. still, she would make a great friend so i exchanged numbers with her and look forward to hanging out.

up until last week i had invited darlene out for coffee or ice cream three times in two months. all three times i was given a reason why she could not go. last wednesday or thursday i called a left her a voice mail asking her out for ice cream one last time. friday, saturday, and sunday came and went without a response to my message. then monday evening while watching tv i got a text message from her saying that she would love to go out for ice cream with me on wednesday, and she would come over at 7:30. this was exciting news!

last night at 7:30, as promised, she knocked on my door. i turned off the tv and gathered my phone, wallet, and keys. when i opened the door i had know idea what to expect. would she be dressed in work cloths? would she be dressed is some comfortable "after work" cloths, or would she be dressed more for a casual date? when i opened the door i was welcomed by a woman dressed for a casual date, that smelled great, and had a wonderful smile. was this a date to her, or was she just making a good impression? i myself was wearing an old navy $5 t-shirt, levi jeans, and tennis shoes that i wore to work. she was wearing a trendy pair of pumps, jeans, a long sleeve white shirt with a green short sleeve polo shirt on top. i could be all wrong about her thinking this was a date, but it was obvious she took the time to do her hair and she sprayed something on herself that smelled real good before she came over. i know what you're thinking. just because a girl does her hair and smells good doesn't mean she thinks its a date, but darlene isn't a prissy girl. she is an athletic girl who i see as more of the t-shirt and ponytail type.

for our "date" i took her to
coldstone creamery in coppell. coldstone creamery is a high end ice cream shop that makes their own ice cream on location. it is very similar to marble slab, but to me they are so much better. on our way there i found out that she is a country music fan. country music is basically all she listens to. i can dig a girl that likes country music. though i like all genres of music. if i was told i could only listen to one genre for the rest of my life, it would be country. we made it to the ice cream shop around 7:45. this was the first time she had ever been to a coldstone creamery so i insisted that i buy her ice cream. every time i go i get something different. this time i bought white chocolate ice cream with walnuts, and darlene stuck to her favorite, mint chocolate chip.

we spent the next two hours having a good ol' time talking and laughing and ended up getting kicked out of the ice cream shop at 10:00 so they could close. i learned a lot about darlene and found that we have a lot i common. i don't know why i insist on assuming things. assumptions always get me in trouble in one way or another. from our previous conversation i assumed that her moral values where not inline with mine, but last night i found out that she might actually be a bit more conservative than i am. she was raised in a lutheran church. i don't know a whole lot about that lutheran church, she described it as a spin off of the catholic church. how many churches in america aren't? evidently, like baptist, there are different types of lutheran churches. to me christianity can be so funny at times. we have denominations of denominations of denominations. i can't help but laugh when i think about it.

after we left the ice cream shop we talked all the way home and in the parking lot for another 5 or 10 minutes. which was ended with a hug, me stepping on her left foot, and her telling me twice how much she enjoyed the evening and that she looks forward to hanging out again. whether it was a date or not it went well. i think i'm going to call it a date and i'm interested to see where things go from here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


1. Robbery committed at sea. A similar act of robbery, as the hijacking of an airplane.
2. The unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted or patented material: software piracy.
3. The operation of an unlicensed, illegal radio or television station.

most of us haven't robbed anyone at sea, much less on land, hijacked a plane, or operated an unlicensed radio or tv station, but most of us have used unauthorized versions of software or reproduced/used copyrighted material.

last night while walking a friend through the process of downloading a free version of acrobat reader i stumbled across a link to download a 30 day trial versions of other graphic software. i proceeded to download four of these pieces of software. three of the four are full blown versions of the software. they just deny you access after 30 days. the other one is almost the full blow version. the only difference is it doesn't let you save any of your files. out of the other three, two of them cannot simply be converted to the full licensed version by simply adding an activation code, but one of them could. i'm aware of websites that offer what are know as "cracks". a crack is a piece of software that aids in the activation of software without an authentic activation number from the manufacture. i proceeded to see if i could find a crack for the software and i found it in about two minutes. most cracks wouldn't be made if the software didn't cost $300-$900. three years ago i bought four pieces of software for a combined total of $1300. one if which cost me $800.

piracy is a funny subject. i find that most people i know are like me and are okay with a certain amount of piracy. an amount of piracy that robin hood would be okay with. i find that most are okay with robbing from the rich to provide for the poor. an example would be borrowing a cd of a famous artist and copying it for yourself. most of us don't do it to make a profit, we do it to save money and we feel that the artist won't hurt from us making a copy. on the flip side, if a friend has a cd of an artist that hasn't made it big and struggles to make ends meet. we won't give each other copies of it. we are respectful of the artist and buy the cd. i would say my music collection would only be two thirds the size it is today if i didn't copy my friend's cds, and i wouldn't have been able to learn as much about design in school if it wasn't for unauthorized copies of software.

is piracy a crime? yes it is, but like speeding there are different degrees that seem to be socially acceptable. copying a cd or using pirated software for recreational purposes is like driving 70 mph in a 60 mph zone is. it is illegal, but rarely is anyone punished for it. on the other hand driving 120 mph down the highway and making money for selling copied cds, dvds, or software will get you fined heavily and posibly locked up.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

J-Lay Radio 87.7

this is greatness at its greatest.

i know it has been out a few years now and it isn't the greatest technology, but for $21.14 it is genius. what is it? it is a wireless fm transmitter. i've been irritated with my 5 disk dvd player because it won't shuffle mp3 files. so i decided that i wanted to stream my music wirelessly from my computer to my home theater system. when i started shopping for a wireless transmitter i kept seeing triple digit numbers, and i don't have the cash to buy a $150-$300 wireless transmitter.

then i remembered the fm transmitter technology that came out a while ago. after doing some searching online i found one here for $21.14 and the site didn't charge me tax or shipping. it was even 2 day express shipping! the transmitter i found hooks into a standard head phone jack so that it is compatible with anything. it isn't the greatest technology and it has its limits. one problem, if you live in a big city, is that you have to find an open frequency. another down fall of this device is that it only has a range of 10 feet.

these limitations haven't been much of a problem for me. for starters 87.7 is open where i live and i live in a small apartment so seldom is my laptop more than 10 feet from my stereo. so instead of listening to my music through two 4 inch computer speakers. i now get to listen to my music through four 4 inch speakers , three 2 inch speakers, and a 10 inch sub woofer. viva la cheap technology that made it all possible for $21.

TBS Humor Study

this site is off the hook! if you have real work to do at work. don't click the link because you will be distracted for over an hour.


Monday, January 23, 2006


twice, during 2005 i accepted a friend's invitation to attend fellowship church of grapevine. though i felt the church was a bit to big and production oriented for my taste. i really did enjoy ed young jr's talks. soon after my second visit, in november, i found out that ed young's talks are broadcasted via television on sunday mornings. my church, journey, doesn't have a sunday morning service. instead we meet on sunday evenings around 6pm. with me being at home on most sunday mornings i've been able to catch a few of ed young's talks on tv, which come on at 9:30 am on daystar. it also airs on three other stations at other times and days. i find ed young to be an excellent speaker and i find that his talks have a lot of relevance to my life. yesterday while listening to him he said something that has really stuck with me. he said,

"sometimes we take ourselves too seriously and God, not seriously enough."

how true is that? i know it is for me and i know i'm not alone with this. so i thought i would share it. so here it is again.

"sometimes we take ourselves too seriously and God, not seriously enough."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bajito Onda

yesterday, saturday, i visited bajito onda, a non profit organization that aids in world peace. the reason i found bajito onda and visited it had nothing to do with world peace. with my job with the bank ending in 5 days i'm trying to find another job to pay the bills while i develop my financial planning business. as part of my job search i've been looking at the online job board that the art institute of dallas publishes for its students and alumni. earlier this past week i saw a posting for a graphic artist position so i requested more information about it.

it was for bajito onda. after reading more about the job i called del hendrixson, the founder, to schedule an interview. we set our meeting for saturday at 2 pm. i arrived about 15 mins early because i wanted to make sure i had time to find the place in the event that i had trouble doing so. del wasn't there yet because she had a meeting for a grant that she applied for earlier this month. after waiting 10-15 mins del showed up with a small crowd of 5 or six people. one person was one of the workers, one was a boy who was to serve community service for a crime he was a part of, and the other's were part of a religious organization.

del proceeded to give us all a grand tour of the building. this is where it got interesting. i learned that bajito onda is a non profit organization that uses printing to raise money to fund multiple projects. i was amazed at how many types of printing they do. they can print flyers, business cards, brochures, t-shirts, banners, posters, vinyl signage, auto wrapping, odd shaped objects, and much more. they even dabble in web hosting and development.

i was even more impressed by the projects that the printing, grants, and donations all fund. del created bajito onda to help stop violence and create peace. she specifically targets the latin community and the gang problems that encompass it. she helps kids and young adults find more of a purpose in life and help them get out of the gang lifestyle. del also has a program to help ex-cons get re-established in the community by teaching them a trade and how to interact with and care for others. sadly there is a lot of help needed in this area because most prisons don't have programs or even care about prisoner rehabilitation. a lot of prisoners become more criminal minded and violent due to being in prison. her outreach programs now stretch world wide. involving parts of africa, south america, and mexico.

at first a walked into bajito onda in search of a potential job, but what i found was much more. through bajito onda i would have a chance to learn loads about the printing industry and at the same time become immersed in helping people in ways that i had not imagined. del is always trying to come up with more ways to make money for bajito onda, and though i showed up because i wanted to simply do graphic arts. after a 2 hour tour and a 2 hour interview we both see me as doing more marketing/sales, and public relations for bajito onda. to make it even more interesting the job might not be so much of a pay check earning job, but more of a entrepreneurial venture. del told me that she feels like she is getting overloaded and is running short of ideas. instead of hiring a button clicker she wants someone who can come up with an idea, implement it, and market it. and intead of earning a salary or hourly wage i would earn more of a commisson from my success in generating business.

we haven’t set anything in stone. i don't even know for sure if i will be doing this, but i told her that i would stop by the office the 30th or 31st to talk more about the opportunity. the good thing is i will have about 4 months of severance pay from the bank to help me figure things out. even if i don't work for bajito onda, i would like to become a volunteer so that i can start helping those with needs and even learn more about the latin community and different types of printing that bajito onda does. needless to say i'm feeling excited and optimistic about opportunity.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Why Does Bologna Get A Bad Wrap?

this is my question for the day. so many people i know don't like bologna. they might have eaten it as kids, but now that they know how it's made they won't touch it with a ten foot pole. they might eat hotdogs, which is another form of bologna, or even sausage, which is made is a similar fashion, but not bologna.

i've been cutting back on my sodium intake for the last 6 weeks or so, and it is because of this that i've looked at a lot of nutritional labels. to my surprise bologna meats have 1/2 the sodium that regular sliced turkey or ham does. bologna might have a bit more fat grams, but fat isn't why my blood pressure was 140 over 90 when i went to the doctor.

i find it funny how we find the native americans using all parts of an animal that they've killed admirable, but when it comes to us we shun it. that shows how spoiled we americans are. while people in other countries and even our own starve, we pick only the choice cuts off of the animal and discard the rest. so if you don't eat bologna because you don't like the taste. i can live with that, but if you don't eat it because of how it's made, well, get over it already. it's not like you're not eating hotdogs or sausage anyway.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Verdict Is In

After much brainstorming i've came up with a new blog title, displayed above. here is a list of other choices that i came up with.

The One & Only
There's Only One
Breaking Mekong Since 2005
There's No Substitute
Between The Ears
No Sugar Added
Inside Out
Tellin’ It, Like It Is
Breathin’ In, Breathin’ Out
Nothing’ But The Taillights
Not That Different
The Closet Cowboy
Against The Grain
Ropin’ The Wind
Famous Last Words
Every Other Memory

A Little Less Talk & A Lot More Action
Can’t Say That On The Radio
Party Of One
Just What I Do

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wanted - New Blog Title

when i started my blog it was self titled, jlay. after mol jr suggested that i add more to my title. so i used the phrased coined by blondebutnotbimbo, jlay is "out of control". after i got tired of it i re-titled my blog as it stands now, j-lay "twenty five and then some". now that it is a new year i'm in the mood for a new title, but i'm not sure what it should be and i'm open to suggestions. so suggest away.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Blending The Old With The New

a couple of years ago it appeared that gm was bowing down to the new fast and furious rage by stopping production of the chevrolet camaro and pontiac firebird. shortly after these two muscle cars stopped production nissan brought back the Z

with a completely new design, and mazda stepped up from the popular rx-7 to the rx-8.

with great timing and now less competition, ford released the retro looking mustang, which i think is a huge success.

as a part of gm's bowing down they hopped into the lower priced sports car market by bringing out the pontiac solstice

and in gm style created it's twin the saturn sky, which should hit the market in 2007.

i guess dodge wanted a piece of the pie too. thus, the dodge charger was brought back into existence.

well, at least the name was. despite lots of criticism, the new family car on steroids is in production and sitting on a car lot near you.

with ford's success with the retro mustang. dodge and gm, after realizing their mistakes, have decided to follow suite. since dodge has already used the charger name they decided to bring back the challenger, and i must say i'm diggin' this car.

gm, on the other hand, has decided to bring back the camaro after a very short retirement, and what a surprise, the new camaro is suppose to be retro.

personally i like the original retro camaro concept more than the one that was introduced at a recent auto show, but i'm not the one calling the shots.

i welcome the retro looking muscle cars. muscle cars from the 60's and 70's where hot and they still are now. the only problem is you need loads of money to own one. now that the big three have decided to bring modern variations to the market i can see nothing but good things when it comes to the sales of these cars. you get the trade marks of the originals, but with modern day enhancements, and who can beat that?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Maybe God Didn't Want Me To...

a couple of weeks ago my pastor emailed me and said she wanted me to attend a focus group at my church with, author, tony jones. tony is a big player in the emergent church movement and we, being an emergent church, are of interest to him. i was excited to be a part of the focus group, but due to some hand held computer password issues i've had to adapt to a new way of keeping my schedule and the focus group didn't make it to the calendar. i was disappointed that i missed the focus group, but i think it was for the best and i can't help but wonder if God wanted me to miss it.

i say this because i ended up hanging out with my youngest friend andrew.

andrew will be seven years old in april, but i met him just over five years ago when i started dating his mom, claudia. we dated for almost two years so i got to see andrew a lot and he became quite attached to me. it is because of this i try to make it a point to hang out with him from time to time. i feel it is important because he loves me and he doesn't really have a good male role model.

andrew and i spent our time at celebration station in mesquite. we played putt-putt, and i taught him the valuable trick of skipping the 18th whole so you can play both courses for less money. after playing putt-putt we went inside to play video games. the game he had the most fun playing, which i too thought was awesome, was hyper bowl. this is the coolest bowling game ever! you, the player, have to roll a half submerged bowling ball to control the virtual bowling ball as it works it way through an obstacle course on it's way to the pins. i'm tell you it was a trip.

ironically after hanging out with my little friend andrew, i was to meet so friends for journey bowling night. i showed up early to the bowling alley so i could shop for some new bowling shoes.

they sell very trendy bowling shoes now days, but i wanted something that resembled the shoes people have to rent when they go bowling. i also thought that these orange and black shoes would go well with my leopard printed bowling ball.

i've been using my grandpa's blowing shoes for the past few years, but they starting to fall apart. besides i think they are older than i am. i don't think i needed to buy the shoes because i really haven't bowled that much since moving to lewisville, but maybe now that i have new shoes i will change that. typically bowling is kind of expensive to play at $4 a game, but on sunday mornings some bowling alleys drop the price to $1. since my church's service is at night most of my sunday mornings are free, and who can resist $1 bowling? i know i can't. for those of you wondering if i really have a leopard printing bowling ball. the answer is yes. what can i say? i like to be different, and who doesn't like a little attention sometimes?

after bowling most of us left the bowling alley to meet up with more friends at the tipperary inn to celebrate my friend john's 29th birthday. i drank guinness beer and three weeks ago i didn't even know i like guinness, but thanks to my cousin-in-law jeff who's around 35 years old, and whose grandma and mom doesn't know he drinks, served me a guinness at his home. he actually keeps his beer hidden so they don't blow his cover by looking in his fridge. if that's not funny i don't know what is?

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Only Thing Cheaper Is Free

i received an email a few days ago telling me that a group of my friends wanted to all wear blazers, a/k/a sports coats, with white dress shirts to church this sunday. i haven't bought a sports coat since i was seventeen years old and i just got ride of my sport coats at my church's garage sale a few months ago because it seems that i've grown since i was seventeen. it was because of this i responded to the email by saying that i didn't have a blazer. that is when my friend shannon replied with the suggestion of going to a thrift store to buy one. at that point i had to wonder why i didn't think of that myself. the world will never know.

the next day i visited a thrift store near my apartment call Resale by CCA. i've been in this store before and it sales a lot of good stuff at low prices. that day was no exception. after entering the store i quickly found the men’s clothing and then more specifically the suit section. i find that more men than not wear the same size cloths i do. no matter what it is that i'm buying or what store i'm in. my size tends to be in limited numbers. this store was no exception; never the less i found a sport coat that fit me. on top of that it was in great condition. i proceeded to look at the price tag and was surprised to see the numbers 8.29. with the knowledge that a new sport coat can run from $100 - $500 i was a bit flabbergasted, and with me being only a few days away from payday i was a bit low on cash, but less than $10 i could do. i took my new bargain to the checkout counter where i heard the nice lady tell me that i owned $4.47. this took a couple of seconds to process. evidently they were having a sale. so i bought a blazer that retails for a couple hundred bucks when new for less than five dollars, and it is in great condition! take a look for yourself.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Legal Docs Make It Official

it is now more official then ever. yesterday i received my very own "corporate severance program" folder full of legal explanations of the severance process. it tells me what i'm entitled to and what i'm not allowed to do. they were even nice enough to throw in two pre-paid envelopes for me to send them the documents that required my signature after my official termination date. maybe that is where the $0.04 went that seems to be missing from my pay computations page? on my pay stub it states that my base salary is $31,000.00, but my pay computation page says $30,999.96. i asked another of my fellow terminees and she too was $0.04 short. what is up with that?

i must say that the department that i've been temporarily working in for the past 4 1/2 months is and has been very nice to us. the manager of the department will be taking us out to lunch on january 27 and charging the bill to the bank. on top of that she is going to make that our last day. this means that i don't have to show up monday the 30th or tuesday the 31st, but i still get paid for them. it's nice to see the little people taking care of each other. despite "the man's" wishes to kick us to the curb. i can't really complain. i'm sure there have been loads of people laid off after working for a company longer than the six years i've worked for the bank and didn't get a twelve week severance package or anything at all for that matter.

now that i only have eleven more working days left at the bank i'm getting anxious. i'm tired of doing the work i've been doing for almost five months now. quite frankly it bores me to death, and it gets harder and harder to motivate myself to do it every day. you know the guy at your office that comes in late, takes a long lunch, and goes home early? well, that has been me for the past week and a half. i'm not sure what i will write on january 28th, but i know i will be writing it as a man free of corporate america. at least for a little while.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Down With Online Dating

after three years of online dating i'm throwing in the towel. i think it has been a waste of my time and money. i'm not saying it doesn't work. i have friends who are proof that it does, but i don't like it anymore. for me it is a producer of constant disappointment. for me it has come down to a quality vs. quantity issue. in the past three years i've been on dates with fifteen women from online and two from the "real world". if you add them all up and compare the two environments, just one from the real world lasted longer than all fifteen from online combined.

i think the advantage of online dating is the mass number of people that one can see and be seen by. one might also think it is an advantage to be able to read about a person's likes, dislikes, and how they describe them self, but i feel that this takes away from an important part of dating. i've realized that rapport is a vital part of developing any type of relationship, and it is my opinion that online dating removes this from dating scene which causes the early breakdown of the relationship. so from now on i'm only searching for women in the physical world around me. do you the reader have an opinion about this?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Iced Coffee

quite often i drink coffee at work. sometimes decaf and other times caffeinated. it tends to be warm on the floor of the building that i work in so i normally will drink my coffee and at the same time have a fan blowing my direction from under my desk. one day last week it was just too warm to drink a hot drink, but i was in real need of leaded coffee that morning. that's when it hit me. i've tried iced coffee at sbux and i remember liking it.

so i took my coffee mug dumped a package of hot coco in it and proceeded to pour in coffee. after shaking the coffee and coco together i put my hot mocha like mix into the freezer to help it cool off faster. after about 45 mins i removed the mocha like drink and added ice, and after tasting it i must say that it is a success. my ice mocha taste great. who would have ever thought iced coffee would taste good?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Quality Time With Friends

on saturday night i hung out with my friend kelly

at her place. we always have a load of fun with each other, but it seems that our paths don't cross as often as they should. i saw kelly at during a recent new year's eve party and we got a chance to catch up a bit and make plans to hang out some time soon.

i proposed that we cook dinner, drink wine, and watch a movie at her place because i didn't have a lot of money to spend on a night out. i'm sure that sounds like i was wanting to put the moves on kelly, but that isn't the case. we are both still single and we always have fun talking about our dating experiences and this evening didn't disappoint, and neither i did the pasta dish that cooked. the movie we watched was the new bewitched with will farrell and nicole kidman. i had never heard of it before but how can you go wrong with will? though the movie was funny. i think it took us 3 hours to watch the 1 1/2 movie. we kept pausing the movie to get more wine and our conversations kept taking center stage over the movie.

i have several friends, both single and married, that i want to spend some quality time with this year. i know we all get busy and engulfed in our own lives, but hopefully kelly was only the beginning of an eventful year.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Longhorn Win = Free Golf

normally i don't watch college football, but with the texas longhorns playing in the championship game i couldn't help but be surrounded by college football talk. if i was watching tv i heard it. if i was was with friends or even in public i heard it. if i was on the net it was in the headlines. there was just no escaping it. so i decided to embrace it.

now i'm no stranger to football. i know how the game is played. after listening to sports talk on tv and among my friends i started to see how texas really had a good chance to beat usc. i did some research online and compared the two teams. which lead to my prediction that ut would beat usc 38 to 28.

of course very few people would dispute my prediction now, but yesterday they would have been telling me not to be so sure about that. statistically i just couldn't see usc stopping ut's offense, and i was pretty sure ut could control usc's. with this prediction in mind i decided to text message my good friend dj who lives near waco and is anti-ut. the reason i sent him a text was to get him to bet against ut. i bet him a round of golf that ut would win and he accepted and added that the looser had to drive to the winner's town to play. which made sense to me.

the game was an awesome game, and because i had the equivalent of $60 on the line it was an emotional rollercoaster for me. there were big passes, even bigger runs, fumbles, interceptions, and questionable calls. i wasn't sure who would win until the last 19 seconds of the game. it isn't very often i get fired up while watching any sport, but last night was different. i was jumping off the coach, screaming "yes!", "no!", and "oh shit!" at the tv. it was a tense game and i was happy to feel relief after four hours of emotional ups and downs. i don't own any ut clothing, but i think i will buy myself a shirt, hat, and golf glove for my victory round of golf.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Money Mistakes By New Parents

It's been a while since i posted a financial related post. I doubt most will read it, but at least I condensed it. I pulled the information from an article written by Karen Hube that was posted on msn. The full version can be found here.

Skimping on life insurance
Once you become a parent, having enough life insurance is essential. If one or both parents dies, you have to make sure your dependents will be provided for.

Shrugging off disability insurance
Disability insurance is arguably even more important, because it's statistically more likely that you will get injured than die while you’re in the workforce.

Buying life insurance for baby
You buy life insurance on someone only if their death would create financial hardship. Typically the only financial hardship created would be funeral cost.

Delaying saving for college
Most parents start fretting about tuition when their kids are entering high school - way too late. The best time to start is when you child is born. Even if it is only a small amount each month.

Forgetting what's most important: retirement savings
Once you're faced with the monumental task of saving for your child's college tuition, it's easy to shrug off saving for retirement. This is a big mistake. Saving for retirement always comes first, college comes second. You and your child can figure out other ways of getting through school. It would be worse if your child had to support you during your retirement.

Postponing a will
Many parents assume they don't need a will, because they don't have large estates. But if you have a child, a will is essential to designate guardians. If you and your spouse die prematurely without a will, a court will appoint guardians for your children.

Overspending on baby costs
While a lot of this spending is necessary, some of it isn't. Many seasoned parents admit their most irresponsible spending occurred in their children's earliest years and before they were even born. Who really needs a $500 hand-stitched crib bumper? New parents think they need everything, want everything to be perfect, and don't know what things cost. Before you start setting up a nursery, come up with a spending plan. Accept hand-me-downs, and shop at yard sales and consignment and second-hand shops. Remember that a lot of what you buy will only be used for about a year, sometimes less -- especially baby clothes.

Overlooking tax benefits for parents
One that many parents overlook is the ability to sock away up to $5,000 of pre-tax money for child care through an employer-sponsored savings program. Called flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), most medium and large employers offer them. Also, ask a tax advisor about other options available.

Saving in a child's name
Any money saved in the child's name will reduce the amount of college financial aid she is eligible for, whether the money is intended for college costs or not. If the money is for college, invest in a 529 plan or a Coverdell IRA, or simply keep the money in a separate account. That way there’s less of a chance it will get used on home improvements or a new family car.

Oversimplifying the work vs. stay-at-home question
At a glance, the question of whether one spouse should quit work to care for your new baby seems clear cut: If the spouse earns only enough to cover child care costs, staying at home probably makes sense.But there are numerous other financial factors to consider. The most commonly overlooked is the costly benefits package provided by your employer. Benefits are often worth about 35% of your salary. Run a comparison of what it will cost to replace the benefits you need if you leave your job. Also, figure in how your other expenses and benefits will change. For example, if you leave your job, you will cut out commuting expenses and the cost of pricey work clothes.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Truck Dreams

three and a half years ago my 1992 chevrolet silverado was stolen and ever since then i've wanted another just like it.

after it was stolen, out the necessity of a car to drive, i bought a 1999 silverado. after 18 months of driving it i decided i didn't like it because it needed a new $1000 rackinpinion.

i didn't want to drop a grand into the truck. so i traded it in for my first brand new car. a 2003 gmc sierra. this my friends was a nice truck.

i had never driven a truck so comfortable in my life, but six months and $0.50 more per gallon of gas later, which was only $1.80, i traded it in for a fuel efficient and sporty looking toyota corolla. though i lost money on my trade i quickly recouped it due to the continued rise in the price of gasoline.

i've been driving my corolla for 18 months now and i do enjoy it and it's fuel economy. who wouldn't rather pay $22 instead of $44 to drive 350 miles? with my upcoming termination from the bank and the $9,900 severance package they are providing i've realized that if i can find another job within the next two months i could go out and by a second car. specifically a late model white chevrolet silverado. over and over the angel on my right keeps telling me i don't need one and i should pay off some of my debts with the money i will be getting, but as soon as i'm convinced of that plan the devil on my left tells me how great it would be to own an old truck again.

i've even caught myself searching the web to find out just how much a truck like the one i had would cost me. do i need a truck? obviously not since i've managed the last 18 months without one, but that little devil on my shoulder is pretty damn persistent. he tells me how much i enjoyed driving my truck and all the good memories i have of it. my dad has my grandpa's 1992 silverado and during christmas i opened it's door and jumped in the cab just to be reminded of how my truck felt. i think doing that and helping my brother shop for a new car really put this feeling inside me. for some reason every time i help shop for a car i get bit by the new car bug, and i can't help but think that it isn't good for my budget, but i can't help by entertain the idea either. i think i need professional help or a fat paying job to support my problem.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Year End Review

i always see year end reviews on tv so i thought i should do one too. overall 2005 was a good year for me. at least i see it that way. i'm sure i could easily turn it around and have a negative feeling about it, but that's just not my style. so here is my review of 2005. though numbered, the only order to my list will be the order in which i remember the events.

1. i had date's with three people from online personal websites. two of which only involved one date and the third made it four and is still my friend in what i would call a weird way. maybe i'll write about that sometime in the future.

2. i dated one girl that wasn't from the internet for three months. it ended on a positive note and we are still friends. right after our break up i was told i couldn't date any of her friends, but she has been dating one of mine for a few months now.

3. i was lazy and hardly made any money as a financial advisor, but that will change in 2006. that is my one new year resolution.

4. on january 31st i became member #996 of the coyote ugly bar on sixth street.

5. the best movie i saw in theater was batman begins. the worst was flight of the phoenix, and the funniest movie was wedding crashers.

6. i attended a party on a party boat for the first time ever. it was on grapevine lake and i must say that was a lot of fun.

7. my brother was shipped off to iraq and made it back, all body parts accounted for, 11 months later. at which time i helped him shop for a new car with the ton of cash uncle sam gave him. i must say that the new ford mustang is sweet!

8. at my job with the bank i was ranked as the number 1 helpline agent out of over 400 agents nation wide.

9. in june it was announced that they were closing the site that i was working at and i would be laid off. october 28th was the date it was set to close.

10. i accepted a temporary currency reporting position with the bank so that i could extend my severance package to a full 12 weeks. my last day with the bank will be january 31st, 2006.

11. i attended the national conference for a company that will remain nameless, per the company attorney. the company had over 50k in attendance and filled the georgia dome near full capacity.

12. for the first time since i can remember i had a birthday without any friends present, but this was by choice, for i was on a sabbatical at my mom's river front home in oregon. during which i about killed myself by wrecking my step dad's brand new moutain bike. i was glad it only cost my $40 to repair it.

13. i started working out and eating less during the late summer/early fall. as i result i lost 10 pounds and didn't pass the 200 pound mark during the holidays.

14. i became more involved in my church by becoming part of the leadership team and budget team as we endured 9 pastorless months. this was followed by us electing a woman pastor to lead our congregation.

15. i gave my roommate the boot after 5 1/2 years of living together. for the record it was a positive separation.

16. i purchased several cds from half price books clearance rack which caused me to discover several good bands that i had never heard of before.

17. i started two blogs. this one at the end of april, and a photo blog during november. needless to say i love blogging. which is so MOL.

18. i sang karaoke multiple times. the funniest was at my church. i filled in for a no show during my church's anniversary show. i sang will smith's version of "just the two of us". i sounded so white. it was so bad, but so funny.

19. i stared reading seven books, four of which i finished, and one of which i'm still reading. two of these books were fiction and are two of the books i finished. these fiction books were the first fiction books i've read in seven years. riding the bus to work over the past three months had a lot to do with me reading more books than in any other year since tenth grade.

20. i got a little trashed at el mol's poker party, broke his liquor bottle from tiawan, was told i couldn't drink the party foul drink anymore despite my repetitive fouls, had a puke and rally session, offended a friend by saying something about his wife, and said friend was still nice enough to drive me to his house and let me sleep in the guest bedroom. said wife even cooked me breakfast! subsequently i didn't find out that i was an ass until i talked with another friend later that day. needless to say i'm not sure i plan on drinking that much again. it's not as much fun if you can't remember it all.

21. i started playing my guitar that i've owned for over three years. i now know three picking songs and seven chords.

22. i bought a fancy hand held computer and recently changed my password to something i can't remember. thus i am locked out of it and i am waiting for the battery to die so that it looses gobs of information allowing me to reload it. at least that is the theory i have.

23. i have avoided the ipod craze and to this day can't find a good excuse to buy one. i think they are cool, i just can't justify buying the little bugger.

24. my car insurance premium dropped $100 a month after my birthday. three months later i rear ended a guy in a new toyota camry, offered my insurance info, and was told that he didn't need it because he couldn't see any substantial damage!

25. for the first time in my life i chased and corralled a horny jackass that had escaped my dad's property. my dad had never owned an ass before which is probably why i had never chased one before.

26. i didn't buy anyone presents for christmas this year and was almost successful in not receiving any either. for multiple reasons i didn't exactly have the money to buy presents this year and i had a revelation about christmas giving as well. the revelation is that we should be giving to those who are in need and not exchanging equally weighted gifts with other's that could have bought it for themselves if they didn't buy my gift.

27. i attended a happening new years eve party hosted by the keymaster, drank a bottle of wine over a three hour period, and spent four hours letting the buzz wear off so i could drive home. i'm happy to say that i remember everything, didn't puke and rally, didn't offend any friends, or have to be driven home. it was a good way to end the year and start a new one.

all in all it was a great year and i plan on topping it in 2006. i must send out a great big thanks to all of my friends and family that helped made it all possible. happy new year everybody!