Impulse Overdrive…

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 | Video Games | No Comments

… in which I talk about picking up a new game, completely on a whim.

As of late, with financial and time constraints, I haven’t been buying as many games as I used to. It’s not that I used to buy a ton, I’ve always been pretty conservative, but I’ve really learned to curb my impulse and unnecessary spending. I’ve also found, at least in recent years, that I am fairly immune to most conventional marketing. No matter how cool an ad makes something look, I find that I can pretty much ignore its call unless I have a genuine, vested interest in the product. To that effect, when I buy a new game, it’s usually with much research and a pre-order for a much anticipated release, or a late release buy after the price has started to slip. Yesterday, however, I saw the release of Forza Motorsport 4 on a passing Tweet and decided that I really needed a new driving game.

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Where did the Weekend go…

Monday, August 4th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about the loss of time

So this weekend, like most, flew by almost imperceptibly. I know I did something this weekend, but nothing that would be considered a responsible thing. I had wanted to do things like change out heather’s license plates, put up a clothesline, fix the toilet. You know, grown up, homeowner, husband, father type things.

Instead, I pretty much watched movies, played games, and wasted time with my Xbox. I know the responsible part of me is locked inside somewhere, I’ve seen it before. It usually surfaces with a flurry of activity, then drinks a beer and hibernates for several months, but lately, its been wracking at the bars and trying to get out, but I somehow keep distracting it and just waste time. Sunday, it almost won, but fortunately, Jason and Stephanie came over and showed it some little plastic figures and it ran in the corner and played army men.

We did, however, spend nearly two hours at Lowes on Sunday not only buying a deep freeze so that Heather can really devote some effort to the Grocery Game , but also meandering back and forth and back again between the fencing, plumbing, and hardware departments trying to figure out how to make a removable post for the retractable clothesline I’m going to put up for Heather. After much deliberating, I think I finally found the right combination of items to create a ground socket within which to install a fence post that can then be removed in the event that we want to have people over on the patio. I’m going to begin construction on it tonight if I can keep the Xbox from grabbing my attention.

Speaking of the Xbox, my addiction to it must be worse than I thought. Not only does the enticement of downloading and watching old TV shows almost completely disable my fatherly productivity (I’ve watched three seasons of Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place almost completely back to back), but games that just make me mad for two hours at a time will keep me hooked even in misery. I played Culdcept Saga for several hours this weekend, and hated almost all of it. Why can I not stop playing when I’m enjoying it so little? I think it is, in part, due to the fact that Culdcept is a combination of a board game and a collectible card game, both of which are weaknesses of mine, but at the same time, the rules eluded me and I didn’t understand why certain things were happening from time to time, so it just made me mad when I thought I understood and found out that I was wrong. This happened quite a bit. I finally determined that the root of the problem, was that in a live game where you are playing with other people, if something happens and its not what you expected, you can go back and figure out what’s actually going on. In a video game, events happen, and then the cards are wiped off the table and you’re on to another round before you even know what you miscalculated. You can’t go back and see what you mixed up.

Also, the game loved to surprise you with abilities that you’d never seen and didn’t know what they did, so you wouldn’t know how to prepare for them.

And finally, I’m now on my second day at work without Heather around and its still awkward. I got to ride my bike in to work today (it took a leisurely 16 minutes and I was actually not completely exhausted or sweat soaked), which is something I’ve been really looking forward to doing again. Today’s ride makes me confident that I can do that almost every day, depending on the weather. Its still unusually, however, to be going off to fix a computer problem (and usually the most asinine problem) and not be able to stop by Heather’s office and rant about it first. Heather and Angela were my biggest confessionals and while Angela is still here, she’s not on the way to most of the computers I deal with. Every time I go out to work on a computer, if I pass by Heather’s office, I look in expectantly, knowing that she’s not there. I know she’s home and happy with Ansel, but its going to take some adjusting for me. Heather and I have worked in the same building for 10 years, and its just not the same to not have her here anymore.

At least now I’m getting tons of comp time again, now that I’m not longer taking lunches. Eating at my desk, FTW!

Originally posted at K. Close III
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If I were a pimp, would you be my ho…

Monday, June 2nd, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about trying to squeeze some money out of you, my friendly readers.

Edit: Okay, it turns out that while this is still not a scam, the free starter funds offer has expired. If you sign up, you will not get the $25. However, I will still get the $10 for you signing up, and then you can convince other people to sign up and get $10 for yourself. Yeah, its more work for less money, but its still free money. If you’re still interested, check out the additional info below. If not, I completely understand and I’m sorry for misleading you earlier.

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Originally posted at K. Close III
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The Game of Life…

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about the lives of our animals and the value we are forced to attach to them.

As you may recall, a few months back we had to have my dog, Knight, put down due to an unknown illness or infection. We spent two months running tests and watching him degrade. He got worse and worse faster than the diagnoses could come in so in the end, we spent a good bit of money on drugs and tests, and then had to spend a good bit more on having him euthanized and disposed of. It hurts. No matter how much I love my pets, there’s still a part of me that says they’re just animals. I know that this sentiment is not true of everyone. There are people out there who would pump any amount of money into an animal to help it live long and healthy, but for us, the value of an animal is an unknown, but very palpable issue. We are not well off, we live check to check, so paying several hundred dollars to have the failing health of a dog diagnosed, is a conscious effort and not taken lightly. As Knight got worse and worse, Heather and I discussed where the line may be between paying more money, and surrendering to the inevitable and just letting him go. As fate would have it, Knight passed that line on his own and we were convinced to put him down before we had to determine exactly how much the life of a beloved pet is worth.

Now do not misunderstand. We are not callus people who have animals with no means of caring for them. Our pets get high quality food, they get regular checkups, and we are able to take them to the vet at the first signs of trouble. Its just that we’re not situated for long term care or extended costs. The routine care for our pets is worked into our budget, and we have savings for when an emergency comes up, but to try and afford a “manageable illness” is kind of out of the question. And unfortunately, we are possibly looking at that kind of debate right now.

As it turns out, our middle cat, Asgar, has been showing signs of illness and is currently not faring so well. His weight has fluctuated greatly in the past few months, with a fairly steady decline as the main direction. His interest in food has been equally variable. When we took him to the vet, they suggested several culprits, but nothing was definitive. He was at a “healthy” weight, also, which was nice because for several years prior, he was considered overweight. Well, his weight continued to drop and we took him in for a second weigh-in, which not only confirmed that he’s still losing weight, but also found that he was losing muscle tissue. They drew some blood and ran some more tests and as of Monday, the vet is fairly convinced that he’s developed diabetes, but he has to run more tests to be sure. Since then, Heather and I have been talking, yet again, about the manageability of a cat with diabetes. We’ve heard that it can cost as much as $200 a month, or even more depending on the severity. We are not in any kind of place to spend that much more a month on top of all of our other bills.

When it came time to put Ansel in daycare, we prepared ourselves for it for six months prior, shorting our budget and building a savings account with the money that we would have been spending on Ansel long before we had to actually live without it. We had six months to adjust our spending and our budgets. On top of that, Ansel is our son, our own flesh and blood, and a very long term investment to boot. I expect him to far outlive myself. Asgar, on the other hand, is already considered a mature cat, he’s eight years old and has had a very full life so far. The rational side of me keeps screaming “he’s just a cat.”

Today, when we went home for lunch, we found Ia’s bed covered in urine and blood. At first we were concerned that we had yet another sick animal, but it turns out that the blood and urine was actually from a cat (as Ia had been outside all morning and there was no sign of blood on our white dog. We confirmed this when we found more blood and urine, as well as vomit, in the guest bathroom tub, and even more blood around the litter box. We have to assume that Asgar has gotten worse. Heather has called the vet, but they are still awaiting the results from a couple more tests.

At this point, we already know that we pretty much can’t afford $200 a month to manage his diabetes. In a sad way, we’re almost hoping that he has developed something from which he cannot recover and cannot maintain so that, like Knight, the “money vs. life” debate can be resolved for us, but until we hear back from the vet, we won’t know.

The vet apparently just called and wants to instruct us on how to give Asgar insulin. He may only be on it for a little while, but he may be on it forever. There’s no way to tell. They’ve also informed us that the blood may or may not even be related to the diabetes, it is not a symptom of diabetes but is instead a symptom of stress. He could simply be stressed out about his diabetes. Hopefully he doesn’t need antidepressants as well.

So I guess we’re going to go home so Heather can learn how to give her cat insulin shots and I can bemoan the fact that its just one more expense that we can’t afford (though apparently the can be as inexpensive as $40-50). Did I mention that our daycare provider is quitting the business and Heather wants to quit her job?

Originally posted at K. Close III
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Money, Its A Gas…

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

… in which I talk about earning and spending.

As those of you who follow my LiveJournal know, I finally bought my Xbox 360. This is something I’ve had the money for and talked myself out of buying no fewer than five times in the past. Its probably best that I did, because it definitely ended up costing me more than the sticker price (new game systems always do; you gotta have some games, a controller, and all kinds of other excessories). Now don’t get me wrong, as I’ve stated previously, I love my video games, and since buying the 360, I haven’t regretted it once. The only thing I’m dealing with now is the fact that I’ve definitely overspent my budget. I had decided that I was going to spend my “wedding money” from next weekend, but I’ve also dipped into my “wedding money” from May as well. Its not a horrible thing. Both gigs are guaranteed and even if the May wedding falls through for some reason, I can make up the difference by living cheap for about two months, but I was hoping to get out of the habit of future spending. Future spending is how debt is born. I hate the fact that I have been, for the majority of my adult life, a future spender. I’m sure that somehow, I’m still paying for a pizza I ate 10 years ago. Then again, I’m probably still carrying around that extra cheese from that same pizza; it just doesn’t taste as good now. Someday I’d like to be the kind of person that saves and then spends, rather than spending and then paying off. I try really hard, but when the bug bites, it bites hard. I could have waited until next week to buy the 360, but I felt like the money was already in my pocket… besides. I was bored on Sunday.

I know, I could have played Hellgate. I should have played Hellgate.

Even now, I can’t help but look at other stuff that’s been on my “when I have money, I would love to get [blah]” list. I know I’m insufferable. I just need to force myself to sit on the list and ignore it until I have money again. At the very least, I am a sweet and thoughtful person and have spent at least part of my “mad money” on gifts and dinners for Heather, and clothes and toys for Ansel. I love them both and I love giving them things they totally don’t need but will enjoy. And all the things I bought for them was bought with “now money” and not “future money.” See, I’m getting better. Honest I am. But still, every month I spend all of my self appointed allowance and have nothing to roll over to the next month. Please help me to cure my spending addiction.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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Next Gen Gaming, Patch 2.0…

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk money and game systems.

So last night, I finally decided to say “Fuck It” and go out and buy an Xbox 360 Elite. Initially I went to Best Buy to find one, but had no luck. In my meandering around town to locate one (which both WalMart and Target had the Elites in stock), I came upon a solution I’m happy with. I’m going to procrastinate. The money I have from the tax return would pretty much pay for an Xbox 360 Elite flat, which would leave me with an Xbox and no games or Xbox Live Account or anything. However, if I put the money in my account and just feel at ease to buy the books I want to read this year, and maybe some DVDs here and there, when I get the money for photographing the wedding at the end of March, then I’ll be able to buy an Xbox 360 Elite with the wedding money, and probably (hopefully) still have some of my tax return money left over for a game or two. Additionally, that gives Microsoft another month to announce the release of a Blu-Ray addon or a full blown Blu-Ray Elite. For the time being, I’m getting myself some Bluetooth headphones to listen to music on my cell phone.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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Tuesday, July 19th, 2005 | LiveJournal Archives | 18 Comments

Heather and I took a three day weekend because its summer and we can! We spent a lot of money, unfortunately, and now the rest of the month has us living on what’s left in the house and $16 in our pockets. Hopefully we don’t have to bust out the Credit Card again. At least its a Capital One card so no visigoths will come beating down our door.

Movie night went great. I think everyone enjoyed The Imposters, and it was funnier than I remember. Its been a long time since I’ve seen it so I was a little nervous, but all was good and a good time was had by all. The rest of the weekend was spent screwing around and generally not concerning ourselves with anything of any importance. We shopped on Saturday and bought some new clothes for work and working out. We also got some much needed toiletries as I was nearly out of deoderant, pomade, toothpaste, rubbing alcohol, and bath soap. I was getting dangerously close to being very uncouth.

I played a fair amount of World of Warcraft, watched a fair number of movies on TV, and generally lazed about for three days. I’m getting to the point where I think we will not be going on vacation this summer (as the next semester starts in 5 weeks), but I’m still not sure. If we do go, though, it’s going to be all on borrowed money (credit card) which Heather and I are both a bit wary of doing.

The radio show I listen to brought up a fun and insghtful question this morning. So our as a new feature of the journal, please post in a reply your answer:

“When did you first feel old?”

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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005 | LiveJournal Archives | 1 Comment

Imagine if you were getting paid the same wage/salary as you would have been in 1946? Grain prices have actually dropped $0.02 since 1946. Not surprising that this grain farmer feels this way.

Just remember how good we have it with that 3% anual raise.


Thursday, June 16th, 2005 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

In the world of rising gas prices and underpowered vehicles in the affordable range, this sounds almost too good to be true:

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Thursday, February 5th, 2004 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

I’m going to OwlCon tomorrow. I’m trying to figure out why I’m not as excited about it as I should be. I think it may be because it’s not Winter Fantasy. It may also be because I played so much RPGA the last two weeks, I’m already ready for a break. Maybe I’ll take a large chunk of this upcoming month off. I’d almost just rather stay home and play BG:DA2 all weekend but I’ve already registered and am set to play so I might as well suck it up and go. Especially since I’m the driver. 😉

Actually, I think it’s mostly because of the money problem. We’ve not been doing well so far this year (and it’s only a month into it). I think we’re just still reeling from Christmas and the trip, even though we both did really well at keeping in our budgets for gifts and what not. I think a lot of this feeling may be coming from now much I got screwed by the bank at the end of January. I’m hoping February will be nicer to me, maybe I’ll be more positive at the end of the month.

Anyway, they’re doing a key audit on campus and I think I’m about to get screwed by that. They’re claiming I have keys that I think I either returned, exchaged, or was never given. Example: why the fuck would I ever have two building master keys? I didn’t lose one, I never got a replacement, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have two assigned to me. I don’t know if I can argue this because it’s like fighting red tape, it doesn’t submit, it has no emotion, it just sticks and lives to tie you down. I’m going to tear through some of my standard “key homes” tonight and see what I’ve got. Two master keys, I guess I’m a double master of the building then. Sheesh

It’s been a good day so far today (key audit aside). I’ve been working off and on and have been overly successful at pretty much all the taks I’ve set out to do today. It’ll be a good way to end the week (a day early I might add). Now all I have to do is pack and make plans to pick everyone up (better send that email). Hmm, wonder how much I can make as a gigolo on Rice university during a con. I gotta eat ya know.

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