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Archive for July, 2010

PTO of a workaholic

July 31st, 2010 at 03:57 am

Unfortunately, that describes me. I looked at my check stub today - we get those electronically too, so one can avoid looking at the particulars.

261 hours, or almost 7 weeks.

Its not my fault I don't get sick. Time to not feel guilty taking those mental health days; I'm chipping away at my PTO (paid time off).

And its my own version of the golden parachute/severence package. Actually, I'm sure the workplace cuts it off at 175 - 200 hours.

Greenwood Seafair Parade 2010

July 30th, 2010 at 03:10 am

I take pictures every year, because its fun and how often does one buy a great $2 brat? Along with few free (for the taking) pics?

Perhaps you have seen a few of these Seafair m a few years running. Every year the components of the parade are similar - the Seattle police motorcycles start the parade, the Seafair pirates end the parade, and there are businesses, little kids, beauty pageant contestants, horse dressage, drill team, bands, and step teams in between. I did manage to take good pics of some components that I've never gotten good pics of before. Enjoy ... and hurry up before they turn into red x's!

There was an Irish step dance troupe that moved into the neighborhood last year - so Michael Flattley, eat your heart out...


And I finally got a great picture of the Chinese step team, a real Seattle hallmark. They did a very intricate step pattern on the street, video here. Have got to love the sweep of that pheasant feather headress.


I caught the musicians on the drill team with confused expressions, however they were very good. Underneath the dragon was a huge drum.


And while I have taken pictures of the horse dressage team before, I just like the rhythm and movement of this picture.

I don't get it (long and venty)

July 27th, 2010 at 05:36 am

I'll probably remove this post after awhile, or maybe not. I need to vent, and its a glancing fiscal issue.

Perhaps you know that I supervise - or as sister jokes, "stupervise" - two people at work. Supervising is a bit different than I had expected. A couple of issues were far easier to resolve than I had expected, but one difficulty is just throwing me for a loop because its so square 0.

I approve timecards.

Now ordinarily one should be able to do this in one's sleep. People fill out their timecards online, and are expected to do so unless there's an extraordinary circumstance. I then go in, glance at them, and approve them. While filling out an online card not as easy as writing one's hours out on a slip of paper or not filling a timecard out at all, it ain't rocket science. Besides, filling out a timecard means you get paid which means that even if the timecard was surrounded by alligators ... well, its important and it should happen come hell or high water.

Well, one of my people just does not fill out the timecard. I have to nag, the payroll person has to nag, and still ... no timecard to approve. According to the payroll person, my slacker is not the only one so that's something.

And yet, I don't get it. AT ALL. Why anybody "forget" to fill out a timecard. Or claim they don't have the online link. Ironic when one displays strong skills when one is on the computer doing something that they like. (Just like a guy who fails to write a check properly, but sure knows how to write one when paying the mortgage.)

Think of your workplace like a plane. With the current economy buffeting the plane, the plane is running turbulence, dropping thousands of feet in seconds. The masks come out. The mask is your paycheck. Without it, you're sunk. You're supposed to put on your mask before you help others, which in the terms of the analogy, if you need to help others fiscally, you especially need *your* paycheck, no? Now putting on the mask is not enough - to activate the flow of oxygen your supposed to yank on the tube. That, my friend, is what filling out a timecard is. Basic.

Now I have missed my own once or twice, I got reminded and I figured out a way to never miss because ... YOU WON'T GET PAID otherwise.

I don't scream, but man, I'm steamed. Next time it happens, no pay for you.

dirty money deja vu

July 26th, 2010 at 03:42 am

Had a very successful weekend of finding money. At Safeway, I look in the checkout aisles some for the size of the line, but mostly for any money. Last night there was a dollar bill on the floor, so I picked that aisle.

Of course I couldn't just nab the bill. I patiently waited for the line to move - and for two sets of people to possibly notice and pick it up before I do. Fortunately the first set of people were two 20 yr old guys who had other concerns, and the woman ahead of me was reading a magazine in the checkout. As soon as they paid and headed out, the money was mine.

And I had a reprise of the fishing for coins incident. This time it was just a quarter, but since I'm not fond of gum, I still had some left over. Found a 5 ft stick, chewed some gum, formed the demented pool cue, retrieved the quarter. All within five minutes, and no witnesses this time.

must be summer

July 24th, 2010 at 04:45 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.90 coffee
Found money - $0.06 (road, inside the bus)

I decided that I couldn't resist maintaining the dirty money tracking. I at least want to see whether or not July and August in general are bad finding money months or whether I hadn't hit my stride yet. Since 7/14, I've found an additional $1.11 ... It appears that last year was a "hadn't hit my stride yet" issue.

Woke up a bit later than usual - I'm now in throes of perimenopause with the hot flashes and night sweats, so its hard to sleep through the night. The open window helps, but its not perfect. Since I was running late, I bought coffee in the neighborhood to drink on the bus rather than take the time to buy coffee downtown. Hence the slightly higher price.

Deposited $47 of tip box savings this month yesterday. The tip box savings are helping me out of a couple of months of spending. Sigh. So I am, with a number of people here, getting back on the saving rails.

Sister called - she lives part time in Milwaukee, part time at the farmette. The sinkhole that developed in Milwaukee is in her neighborhood. (not her car!)

We had another person leave. This guy. The one who usually comes by and yaks for 30 minutes. An hour and a half this evening! Not a fan of him, but means that the screws are quietly tightening at work.

dirty money analysis, part 2

July 23rd, 2010 at 04:55 am

So part 1 was the general terms and now I'll get a bit more specific.

So month to month starting on July 14, it ran like this: July - $1.33, August - $1.20, September - $3.28, October - $2.37, November - $4.85 (found a $1 bill), December - $7.24 (found a lot of thrown change during Christmas and New Years), January - $5.02 (another $1 bill), February - $3.29, March - $9.43 (found that $5 that month), April - $4.12, May - $4.25, June - $3.60.

Hard to read if change finding has a season. It wouldn't surprise me if fall, winter, and spring are better seasons - in cold rainy weather people have more pockets to manage and don't want to stop and pick up change.

There were some days that I did not find any money - 53 in fact. But it did mean that for 312 days I did find at least a penny - an amazing 85% of the time.

I wanted to know if some days were better or worse than others.

Monday - $5,24, or 10.5% of the total, with 4 days of finding nothing
Tuesday - $5.80, or 11.6% of the total, with 5 days of finding nothing
Wednesday - $5.34, or 10.7% of the total, with 8 days of finding nothing
Thursday - $6.16, or 12.3% of the total, with 8 days of finding nothing (New Year's Day penny windfall happened on Thursday)
Friday - $4.74, or 9.5% of the total, with 11 days of finding nothing
Saturday - $9.23, or 18.5% of the total, 12 days of finding nothing
Sunday - $13.47, or 27.0% of the total, 5 days of finding nothing (1 $1 bill and my $5 bill was found on Sunday)

The weekend was a bit better, probably because I walk around and can look for longer. Friday is notably the worst. Monday, while a small haul, is very consistent - I always find something.

Jackie Handey part 2

July 23rd, 2010 at 04:04 am

Screenwriter friend again.

He is now volunteering to help program events at the Everett Theater, which is now getting an upgraded sound system.

The Everett Theater with a stage and screen has a number of lectures, concerts, etc. Screenwriter friend is being tapped for movies (has a number of cult movies already) and whatever interesting things he can do, and emailed us for suggestions.

I had one and it was a real Jackie Handey wild idea. Part 1 for other brain farts that I've had just to give you a sample.

How about this: you program a so-bad-its-good-film and at the same time you mike up live several teams of comics/improv artists/free range smart asses to produce live smart ass remarks, talk back at the screen, point out cameos, riff on continuity issues? It would be a bit like a live Mystery Science 3K, a bit like Rocky Horror performance art, even a bit like straight DVD commentary, with perhaps scoring (not quite sure how it could be done).

I'm calling it film karaoke, for the lack of any better term.

Screenwriter friend is genuinely mulling this wild idea. He knows of a number of improv troops that might take a whack at it. I wonder if its been tried before?

dirty money analysis, part 1

July 20th, 2010 at 04:47 am

Part 1 is going to be the big picture.

So I made $49.98, tax free, by picking up any money where I found it between July 14, 2009 - July 13, 2010. I'm frankly still amazed - and found change hunting useful on a number of levels:

1. Got me excited about doing the Saturday and Sunday afternoon walks. This upcoming year, I'm going to see if I can still find change at a jog, which is the pace I'm supposed to go.

2. The nearly $50 is a haul that compares very well against the incredibly crappy interest rates on savings. To collect the same amount of yearly interest last year as I found I would have had to have $3,998.40 in ING; $4,998.60 in a 6 mo CD; $10,517.19 in 1 yr T-bill; $499,800 in a Vanguard money market fund (0.001% interest, if you can believe it). And I haven't even discussed the tax implications yet.

3. Picking up change keeps me attentive and encourages me to pick up more change. Picking up that penny primes me to look for more, both because DisneySteve's rule of looking for additional coins nearby is a good one, and because picking up that penny keeps me mindful that there's many more coins out there. For example, if I didn't pick up those 1098 pennies, and concentrated on finding only silver money, I'd only be off by about 10$. However, if I'm not likely to pick up pennies, I'm probably very unlikely to pick up those nickels, dimes and quarters either.

As I said before, the $49.98 was comprised of 1098 pennies, 44 nickels, 189 dimes, 43 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill. On a value basis, 22% of my haul was pennies, 4% nickels, 38% dimes, 22% quarters, 14% bills.

The penny haul and the quarter haul seem appropriate to me. I should find a "ton" of pennies because the value is so low, while people don't want to lose quarters so they pick them up if they accidentally catch themselves dropping them and even the most non-change picker upper will pick up a quarter.

The nickel haul seems very low. DH thinks its because one only gets 1 nickel in a wad of change so there aren't that many in circulation. Not much in a pocket means not much can be lost from the pocket. I think that's a good possiblity, but an even better possibility is that a nickel is about the same diameter as a quarter. A nickel is as visible to the casual eye as a quarter might be.

The dime haul seems shockingly high. Matter of fact, if I'm a success at finding change, its mostly dimes and pennies. Dimes are definitely worth picking up. I wonder if the dime situation is the "other side of the coin" (I'll duck now) as the nickel situation. Dimes are small and easily lost.

hopefully, this isn't your noon

July 20th, 2010 at 03:48 am

Anybody else see this article? Or have to deal with a toxically gross office refeer? Its the one downfall with being frugal. And the personal refrigerator? We already have it...reader, meet the cooler. Smile

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38280769/ns/business-bloomberg_b...

I'm thankful that during the summer, we only have 7 people on our floor; this year a couple of people are on vacation, one on a PTO day. I appeared to be the only person to use the floor fridge today. Thank you, jeebus! And my typical lunch/snack these days is brown rice, tofu, hot sauce, along with 2 pieces of string cheese individually wrapped.

And for laughs I posted this article on our refeer. Come October, it might not be so funny.

I'm back

July 16th, 2010 at 04:27 am

Whew, I didn't think it had been this long. Apologies!

I had an action packed couple of weeks. First off, through most of this time I had the mother of all colds. July 4th I felt a bit off, and decided not to bother with going to the 4th of July party. Said cold had morphed, by the 7th, into a full (sore-)throated nightmare. I couldn't talk, DH had to call in for me.

The next day was the beginning of the trip to Montana to celebrate MILs 85th. For the 8th - 13th we were out on the road...and believe you me, being sick on the road is not what its cracked up to be. We spent some money here and there - rented a car because the cushmobile still had its left light and bumper out - boarded V.I., who was not thrilled with the idea but seemed to tolerate a lot better this time than during the weekend cow trip. We also decided that driving from Seattle to Bozeman in one shot is for the birds. We've done it many times, we need not demonstrate that we are nuts yet again.

By the 13th we were back, and I had one more day to recouperate. I'm still not 100% by any means.

The 13th of July represents the 365th day of finding change. Did I make $50? It looked good for a long time - even on the 8th chasing around (I had to turn on my out of office email), I was at $49.97. I figured, heh heh, how hard would it be to find 3 pennies in 5-6 days?

Impossible, it turns out. Montanans apparently keep their change in their pockets instead of flinging it out like Seattleites do. Total strikeout for the entire trip.

So okay, I figured I was still in the game - I had the 13th to find at least three pennies. Alas, I only found one. My total for the year stands at $49.98: 1098 pennies, 44 nickels, 189 dimes, 44 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 10 cents. If you think in terms of rolled change, its 2 pennies shy of 22 rolls, a bit more than 1 roll of nickels, 3 3/4 rolls of dimes, a bit more than 1 roll of quarters.

More than a sock's worth, that's for sure. I'll do a bit of data crunching this weekend. To whew your appetite, note that I only found $12.66 indoors (25%), the rest ($37.31) outside (75%). Change finding is definitely an outdoor sport.

happy 4th

July 4th, 2010 at 05:27 am

Not much fiscal going on...
Tomatoes are finally relatively cheap - $1.28/lb, so I made a Jamie Oliver version of tomato salad with a couple of edits of my own...

2 lbs or so of good fresh tomatoes
kosher salt
2 garlic cloves
1 jalepeno, minced
olive oil
red wine/ balsamic vinegar

Chop your tomatoes roughly, put them in a colander, salt them and let them sit to express some juice. (15-30 minutes). In the meantime, make a dressing with 3:1 olive oil to vinegar.

Combine tomatoes, garlic, jalepeno. Dress with the oil and vinegar.

$49.33: 1018 pennies, 43 nickels, 185 dimes, 43 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.