Recently in Me Category

Pillow Talk

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Design a pillow for that special somebody for Valentines day or any occasion. Send the pattern over to the talented people at http://www.ninaspillowdesigns.com and they'll create it!

Here's what I designed for my wife for valentines day.

Update on life

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Here's a quick update on what's been going on in my life for the last few months.

Sept 8 => Last day at www.hcpl.net

Sept 29 => First day at www.chorn.com as an application developer

More to come later.

to sleep or not to sleep

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11pm - peak performance
12am - deminishing returns
1am - easily distracted
2am - phoooooootooooooshop is fuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnn
3am - "May as well pull an all-nighter"... proceed to organize filing cabnets
4am - "I should have gone to sleep at 3..."
5am - "I really shold have gone to sleep at 3... /me grabs Mt. Dew `wake-up juice`"
@@currentTime = Time.now || 'top-o-tha-mornin to ya'
6am - "Shipley's or What-a-burger this Friday?"
7am - put 'web designer' hat on until 5pm - TGIF!

"Dad's fast red car"

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My *new* 1998 Ford Escort ZX2 - 'hot'

1998 Ford Escort ZX2

I was finally able to pry my buddie's car out of his tight grasp -- on the condition that it retain its original name, "Dad's fast red car". It was a cash deal - which is one milllion percent better than the $400/month deal I was paying on the CR-V. Matt is moving up to Idaho to get into the car business and 1) didn't want to take his car with him 2) has a 7 person family that doesn't fit a 4 seater and 3) will now have the chance to drive any (Ford) car he wants now. So it was perfect timing on both our parts when I emailed him a month or so ago asking if he knew anyone looking to sell a small commuter car.

I love the car for many reasons:

  • it's a manual transmition - which is actaully alot of fun
  • I feel cool in it (I know I really shouldn't but I can't explain why I do)
  • it's a symbol of my new financial mantra - "cash purchases only" (ok, so I really purchased it with my student loans, but it beats a $400/month car payment any day of the week)
  • I didn't have to change one radio preset (I'm debating removing the 2 country stations from FM2)
  • did I mention it's a stick?
  • it gets 27 miles per gallon
  • I really look up to Matt, so driving his car is a daily reminder the kind of person I want to be
  • it's super clean and in GREAT condition for being a 7 year old car
  • My wife thinks I look funny in it (which leads to the next point)
  • it's totally too small for my w-i-d-e profile. The car is motivation to shed a few pounds
  • I look good in red
  • Every time I 'reverse' out of my garage and driveway it reminds me of the Ford Escort hatchback my Mom drove when I was a kid
  • and finally, there's no car payment like no car payment

For those of you wondering what the 'hot' is about in the car's name, "1998 Ford Escort ZX2 - 'hot'" - that's actually what it's called :)

You should really listen to the review this car got.
"A lotta fun outta this little beast"

"I was surprised at how much fun it was"
-Mark Fulmer
Editor-In-Chief, The Auto Channel

My Christmas (Book) Wish List

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Adding Older Posts

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I'll be all alone this week so I'll have a little bit of free time on my hands. The time that I *should* be dedicating towards studying for finals I think I'll put towards updating my site with blog entries from 2000 and 2001 that I posted on a few other sites.

It will be fun to take a walk down memory lane. Stay tuned.

Sold!

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After 2 weeks we sold our CR-V. My wife and I decided a month or so ago that we need to get our financial lives in order. We've taken a more serious stance on paying off our debt and spend more wisely. In order to do this we had to get ourselves out from underneath our ~$400/month car payment. Being less than 2 years old we knew we wouldn't make much from the sale - we just wanted to get what we owed on it.

Well, we sold it today and made some $$ on it!!! A whoping $0.43!

When I saw that the money got wired into my account I felt so relieved. This is the first step toward our new financial beginning! (no need to pat me on the back, I'm doing it right now)

I'll miss it, but I won't miss the payment.

Front/Side/Top View

Random Updates

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Even though I got an extra hour's sleep over the weekend I'm so tired today. I'm not sure why. Could I have slept too much?

We've been reading Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover. We'll, my wife has been reading it more than me. I read a page or two every few days. I feel like it's stuff I already know so I have trouble allocating large amounts of time to the book. It has helped my wife think differently about debt and consumption. Her enthusiasm has motivated me to make changes in the way I've been spending too.

Our largest decision as of late has been to sell our beloved 2004 Honda CR-V. We make payments on it every month and to tell you the truth finding an extra $400 each month taxes both our checkbook and our relationship.

I've realized that I've been focusing more on that stupid car payment and not enough on school. This paradigm shift <joke scope='inside'>pronounced: para-dig-em</joke> has helped me realize some things.

  • First, that my focusing now on material things and not focusing on school is going to short-circuit my life in the end if I keep going the way I am
  • I've also returned to the thinking that if I don't have the cash for product xyz, then I don't deserve to have. Once I get the cash, then I can get xyz.
  • Debt is a downward spiral. Debt gives you access to all these things that would otherwise be out of reach: cars, jewelry, etc... So there we are, we have these things, but no real sense of achievement for those things (we didn't earn them, we got them on credit). We will, however, have racked up some super crazy consumer debt that will weight on our minds every day and night until the debt is paid. So to avoid thinking about the awful state we're in, we put something else on the card to temporarily take our mids off of it; Leading us back to square one...

I'm glad we're finally doing something about all this.

I still don't have my site redesigned for the CSS reboot TOMORROW. Oh well. Maybe next time.

In other news, Ruby on Rails is really starting to get some media recognition. I'm still plugging away at why's poignant guide to get a solid grasp on Ruby before I jump too deep into rails.

Still on the topic of rails, check out this awesome desktop image from flickr.

This probably should have been in 2 or maybe 3 different posts, but I'm lazy. Deal with it. Oh, and sorry for the one or two of you that have me in your RSS reader for the lame post title `Random Updates`.

Personal Update Ramblings

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Long days -- Little sleep -- Dirty diapers -- Homework -- Nagging clients -- Date nights -- College -- Bills -- Work -- Redesign -- Life

Ummm, yeah. I've been busy lately.

I saw the adviser for the business school on Monday. I've got all my undergrad classes mapped out for the next year and a half. After that it's diploma time!! Then on to grad school if I can get in. It's exciting finally seeing the light at the end of this education tunnel. It's been a long road. I started going to school last millenium, 1999 and *finally* I'm a junior.

Astors: you did it! I jumped up and down like a little boy when I heard you won. Of course I was on the phone with a client at the exact moment I heard my wife scream from the living room. I had a bit of delayed celebration, but it's all good.

I've got to get this ugly site redesigned for the css reboot in 12 days. I don't even have anything yet. I keep checking sites in the 9rules network for inspiration, but nothing is coming.

babble babble, ramble, gooogly monster.

Financial Spreadsheets

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This is just what I've been looking for!

I've tried tracking my finances through quicken. I've tried tracking my clients through quicken. I learned one thing. I'm not a quicken guy. I've tried it. 3 seperate times.

I recently started tracking my clients with a simple Excel spreadsheet I drew up in just a few minutes. It has it's limits, but it's working.

I've been searching the web for personal finance spreadsheets comprehensive enough to help me track my finances. This site was an answer to my prayers. Literally. There's a ton of good stuff there from motivational quotes to real life experiences to straight up facts about how stupid we are about finances. But the big deal for me are the spreadsheets. There's an excel file containing workbooks for every facet of your financial life.

If you're trying to get your financial life in order don't wait till January to make a new year's resolution. Start now!

Katrina Cleanup in Slidell

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I'm actually writing this a week or so after the fact. I wish I hadn't of waited, but I've been so busy with life, school, Rita, work and family.

12 of over 4,000 members of my church piled in a 12 passenger van around 7pm Friday night. We drove to Slidell Louisiana in good time, making it there by 2:30am. There were already hundreds of volunteers there from Houston and the surrounding areas camped out in tents and RV's outside one of our church buildings in Slidell. It was a miserable night. If I got 2 hours sleep I was lucky. I probably drifted off by 3:30am and we arose at 6:00am.

Day 1

Our team of 12 received our orders in the morning after a breakfast of bagels and cereal. We were given about 5 names of families in need of help. If they were home we were to ask if we could help. If no one was home we'd move on to the next house. On our 3rd try (i think) we found David Paige. He and his wife had severe damage to their home. They were hit by a 7 foot storm surge and their house was then under 3 feet of water for over a week.

We quickly went to work, removing furniture, clothes, and other items that were ruined. We removed all the sheet rock in their home from about waist height down (approx 4ft high). We cut up and removed LARGE trees that had fallen in their front yard. This home wasn't in a neighborhood, I'd guess they had about an acre of land.

By noon we were really slowing down. I'd probably already had a gallon of water and was working on my gallon of Gatorade. The hours from noon to 3pm were the most difficult. The sun was just too much. I had to rest every 30 to 40 minutes.

By 4:00pm or 5:00pm that evening we had removed most of the sheet rock and insulation from the home that was damaged by mold, removed one large tree, and restored some hope to that poor family.

Pictures :

Day 2

See all the pictures

Katrina Volunteer

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I volunteered at the Atrodome today. I actually was never in the Astrodome, but in the Reliant Arena (previously Astro Arena), serving food & drinks to evacuees and other volunteers. At first I figured I got a crumy assignment, but then I realized I just had to make the best of it. I made it a goal to make everyone that came to me smile. It was a wonderful experience.
reliant and astrodome

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