Useless Blogging

February 20, 2007

Make Your Own Dumb Luck

Filed under: Philosophy,Thoughts — steegness @ 1:45 pm

This entry is in response to the Dumb Little Man Personal Finance Tip Challenge. I can’t turn down the chance for free money, as that would be poor financial planning.

Recent events (not including the hundred-dollar DLM proposal) got me thinking about how I ended up where I am financially. Pondering this, I came to a stunning realization; I had very little to do with any of it, at least at the outset.

Everything that has led to me GETTING money has been mostly luck, talent, or some combination thereof. My college education? Loving parents. My job? Nepotism started me down that path. This post? If it hadn’t come across my feedreader, I wouldn’t have a prayer for the hundred dollars, would I?

But personal finance isn’t about getting money. It’s about keeping money. And that’s where tips and tricks come into play, isn’t it?

There’s an essay in my wife’s head about how she manages our finances, I’m sure. From where I’m sitting, it seems to come down to a few key points.

  • Know what’s coming in. I’m not sure that can be stressed enough. If you don’t know how much you’re bringing in — and I mean a actual, solid number here — there’s no way you can possibly work out your finances. Without it, expenses aren’t real, but overdue notices are.
  • Direct deposit. Have your money from your paycheck put directly into your account AND at least one other account that you create and totally ignore. Yes, 401K’s are better and such, but if you’ve got a future plan that involves a large purchase — or maybe even more importantly, if you DON’T have future plans and don’t have a cushion to fall on if you lose your job — this tip is a must. With direct deposit, you save money, and you don’t miss it because you never saw it to begin with.
  • Say no. I’m not certain how much saying no has saved us over the years, but I know it’s recently saved us figures with five digits. This tip isn’t even about denying yourself the things you want… people (especially salesmen) who hear no WANT you to say yes, and offers will be adjusted accordingly. And if they don’t adjust, you’ve saved yourself even MORE money by exercising great personal control.
  • Pay with a credit card. Not a move for the weak, but if you can manage it, using a credit card for everyday purchases builds a massive credit rating. Thanks to this tip (along with speactacular parents who worked to put any debts in my name before their own), I was able to purchase a house at age 22.
  • Last but not least: don’t panic. Money is a powerful force. It’s value distilled into physical form. No other abstract has a concrete equivalent like that. Mind-blowing, but not worth losing your lunch; problems WILL arise, and they CAN be solved. Sometimes the solutions aren’t the most popular options, but there is always a route to the other side. Worrying about it only exaggerates the issue; the only thing that offers a solution is… well, solving the problem. Are the problems more important than picking out today’s socks? Of course. But importance MUST NOT equate to despair or panic; importance means that you have to stride into every decision with confidence.

Remember, these precepts apply regardless of how much money you have. Heck, the last one applies whether we’re talking about money or not (thank you, Douglas Adams). Luck will get you into situations, but only you can make the most of them.

December 26, 2006

On The Senses, via Emma

Filed under: Family,Philosophy,Uncategorized — steegness @ 10:11 pm

Christmas day… the gathered family admires some pictures Emma just took with her new kid-friendly digital camera…

Adult Family Member: “You’ve got quite an eye, Emma.”
Emma: “Eyes. Plural. I’ve got two.

December 21, 2006

Me and Stalin: More Alike than You’d Care To Imagine

Filed under: Philosophy — steegness @ 2:16 pm

Language Log: Watch your grammar, comrade

August 4, 2006

When men were men, and verbs were passive

Filed under: Philosophy,Thoughts — steegness @ 9:52 am

From the Language Log.

I’ve been geeking out on language a lot lately, and the Language Log is probably my drug of choice (though I’m on many right now, thanks to the Google Reader).

I wonder how much of the hub-bub over passive constructions is merely semantic, due to the perceived weakness of the word “passive” as opposed to any real weakness in the structure of the verb phrases themselves. I think the suggestion at the end of the artcle might be worthwhile, if wholly impossible.

June 13, 2006


Filed under: Philosophy — steegness @ 1:24 am

Law Blog » The Law Blog Goes Down Under: “Oogabooga” & the Law

I need to blog this, if only for my love of language. Excerpt:

Instead, the judge concluded the word had racist overtones. Embarking on an investigation into the origins of “oogabooga,” the judge cited such disparate sources as James Cook’s famed travel writings a film review of the last year’s King Kong. The review of Peter Jackson’s remake said, “Jackson’s cavalcade of oogabooga savages makes ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ seem like a monument to ethnic sensitivity.” He also cited a successful racism suit in the U.S. where an employee complained of being called “oogabooga” by a co-worker.

June 12, 2006

Software Needs Philosophers

Filed under: Philosophy,Programming — steegness @ 1:21 pm

Stevey’s Blog Rants: Software Needs Philosophers

A lengthy read, but it makes me happy to have the education that I do. 🙂

Still Awake (And Thinking) – A Compilation Post

Filed under: Family,Philosophy,Thoughts — steegness @ 3:53 am

3:35 AM is what the clock is reading as I’m starting this. I’m still awake, and I’m clueless as to why. So, you (the viewers at home) get to get some of whatever insanity this is, in the form of a blog post.

This past weekend was a wedding, to which the entire family was invited. A friend of my wife’s — perhaps one of her best friends growing up — was wed to a tall man in a part Christian, part Jewish ceremony. It was pretty interesting, all told. But of course, the ceremony is usually second to the party afterward, and this wedding was no exception.

The trick to having the entire family at the wedding and reception was that the wife and I didn’t get to be adults, as we were too busy being parents. I love my kids and all, and it’s not as if they were horrible or anything (quite the contrary), but I can’t help but wonder how different the experience might have been if they stayed at home. Or at the very least, if the reception had been held wholly indoors (this was at a country club, so the prospects of running off were pretty high).

Two half-days of school remain in the school year for my kids. Well, Sara’s days are ALWAYS half-days, but the entire county is following suit this time.

Inertia. It’s the hardest thing to fight there is, by my estimation. The question is: what forces could be so strong as to shake something from its path? In motion, I’m going to stay in motion… but what’s my “unbalanced force”? Do I have one?

That’s all for now, I think. Pictures of the kids jamming with the wedding band to come.

April 17, 2006


Filed under: Philosophy — steegness @ 9:49 am

On Respecting Beliefs.

I also wonder if showing respect for all beliefs is causing more problems than it’s avoiding. The only thing that keeps most people from acting on their absurd beliefs is the fear that other people will treat them like frickin’ retards. Mockery is an important social tool for squelching stupidity. At least that’s what I tell people after I mock them. Or to put it another way, I’ve never seen anyone change his mind because of the power of a superior argument or the acquisition of new facts. But I’ve seen plenty of people change behavior to avoid being mocked.

April 14, 2006

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

Filed under: Friends,Philosophy,Programming,Rants — steegness @ 1:02 am

ESR on inquiries.

It showed up on Jason’s Blog, and I’m posting it here mainly because I’m half-considering adding it to my signature for work.

April 5, 2006

Timestamp edited

Filed under: Philosophy,Uncategorized — steegness @ 1:02 am

This was pointed out to me today (well, yesterday). Today will see 01:02:03:04:05:06. That is, 1 AM, +2 minutes and 3 seconds on the fourth month’s fifth day in the year abbreviated “06”.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke a century’s worth of it. (And thanks, Squeak)

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