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Archive for August, 2010

last day of vacay

August 31st, 2010 at 08:57 pm

And I got paid today.

I've also volunteered, been picked and have embarked today on a medical study on the bird flu vaccine. Apparently there is a killed-virus bird flu vaccine that is safe, but only effective at high doses; there's an adjuvant (little molecule that seems to encourage a large immune response) that is also safe and works well for other vaccines; this study seeks to test whether putting the two together produces a safe, effective vaccine.

I'm excited to be in the study - I've been following the bird flu for a few years now (the flu wiki link) and I'm happy to be a part of possibly helping others.

So the study group took my medical history, made sure I wasn't preggers, made sure I wasn't sick (with the flu hah hah), that I was in general good health and didn't have any physical issues with flu vaccines in general - I get my shot every year without issues. Then the nurse took my blood pre-shot, I got shot, and I was taught how to keep a memory log.

Now I'll be going through weekly blood draws, I'll get a second shot at week 5, more weekly blood draws - 10 in all.

And the part that belongs in a fiscal blog - I'll be paid 75$/shot, $50/blood draw for a total of $550. Not quite as tidy as disneysteve's surveys, but a not too bad haul nonetheless. Might as well put that tolerance for shots and blood draws to good use.

catching up ...again

August 28th, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Even though its been a relaxing stay at home, a lot had happened:

Did the neighborhood gumshoe event for $20. It was a list of 30 clues that got you about and out and around the neighborhood, and you had to answer the question regarding each place. I think the preteen set had the best mind for it; they observed, took things literally, and didn't read too much into the clues.

Went up to Vancouver, B.C. for a surprise two day trip. That one was a bit pricey - about $200 for the hotel room and parking.

Sent off sister's birthday gift for $10 - most of her gifts were home or kit-made or were provided for from the Greenwood yard sale. I especially liked how the flip book of pictures of the farmette and the two framed pics of the farmette turned out.

The rancher delivered the beef to us this afternoon. That one was a bit pricey - $316. We got our 1/8, or about 50 lbs, and I think we got pretty much what we wanted. All told, it did work out to be about $7/lb. Best of all, it just barely fit into the freezer. Here's what 50 lbs of beef looks like in a top freezer.


DH had to re-pack the big bag of short ribs into two smaller ones - he got one of the bags of short ribs into the freezer, but the other is in the fridge. Anybody got a great recipe for short ribs?

Oh yes, the official beef fest is going to be on the 11th.

spendy right now but crafts will distract me

August 17th, 2010 at 08:46 pm

Well, I'm on vacay, trying to get the PTO levels down, but again it will be a staycay (don't bother, thief). Lately its been very pricey for us too with the $318 for the beef and car repairs totaling $600. And then vacay is a bit spendy even as a staycay - if I'm at work, reading emails, bringing my lunch, doing stuff at my desk - I'm not spending money. None of this I'll buy coffee here, buy lunch here, need admission here. Trainer is away getting married (she already is, this one's for the parents), so that will be a bit less spendy.

But with vacay I'll have time to finish up two craft projects. They are two radically different ones.

1. Sister's birthday is coming up. I've made the three books in the bookbinding kit. They turned out well, so I think I will convert one into a farmette picture book printing some photos I took from there.

2. Making a playlist for beef fest. I already have the music, I even have it at the playlist stage. Now, being the ultimate control freak, I want to figure out a way to link the song files together so they will play in exactly the order I want them to. Both winamp and windows media will skip around after awhile.

another wheat penny

August 15th, 2010 at 09:19 pm

This time a 1938. 4 cents.

I'm saving them for laughs, just to see what I get. Thus far I have 4 wheat pennies (1956, 1951, 1938, 1927S) obtained by picking them up from where someone else dropped them. I've also been thinking of saving any copper penny, the ones older than 1982.

beef final $

August 13th, 2010 at 11:15 pm

The final decisions were made on red angus four, now that she is no more and her carcass in the freezer locker.

We want as little hamburger as possible (lots of chefs and cooks in our group), so we opted for cube steak, additional chuck steak (beef bourgineon anyone?), some german sausage (long straight kielbasa-like sausage), some summer sausage, plus all the various steak cuts. We are going with the cut to maximize the New York strips and tenderloin. (Last time we asked for the 90 degree off cut to maximize T-bones, rib eye and porterhouse.) No hamburger patties, just 1 and 2 lb packets. I don't hate patties, just that one can make patties of any thickness from thawed hamburger and a pack of patties is a real PITA as it takes up space in the freezer.

Final cost amongst our consortium equals $2527.00 (the carcass price minus the deposit). It means that the 62.5lb 1/8 share = $315.88 if one paid their share of the deposit ($50 for 1/8 cow). In other words $5.85/lb total cost or $5.05/lb not including deposit. Not too shabby. Its grass-fed, grass-finished, organic, un-CAFO, we met the rancher-the land-and the cow beef. Thundering Hooves is probably the closest in quality - their hamburger is $9/lb retail and their steaks go up from there.

Now the real pitfalls begin. Who wants and who gets what cuts? The aim is that people get the poundage that they paid for, mostly get what they want, can cook (or are interested in cooking) what they get, and if there's a universally hated item, its split proportionally amongst the crew.

2 thoughts. 1.) Everybody provide what they most want, what they can cook, and what they hate. Then its like playing Hearts only using with beef cuts and the liver is the queen of spades. Big Grin 2.) Rancher makes 16 equal piles. Those who are on deck for 1/16 get one pile, the 1/8s get two piles, the 1/4s get four piles ... and again with the whacked out beef cut card game making trades.

Sausage comes separately, next month. So I definitely want to be a bit short of poundage to get some sausage.

sold some stock

August 11th, 2010 at 08:39 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $2 bottle of vinegar

I "sold" one of my stocks last week and just got the notice that the sale went through. I put sold in quotes because I had only 20 shares ('odd' lot) and it was part of a buy back Dutch auction. The price was going to be at worst $29/share.

The reason I sold was because it, call it company 2, really wasn't a drp - I couldn't reinvest the dividends - and it was hard to buy shares. I got the stock by convoluted means - my bank stock spun company one off which got bought out by company 2.

Since I'm still interested in keeping it in the stock market ... might as well let it ride ... I'll add to my position somewhere else.

Wonder when I get the check.

dirty money analysis, part 4

August 10th, 2010 at 09:44 pm

For part 3, analysis of change found in inside places, here.
For part 2, the when I found change, here.
For part 1, my luck in finding change for the year, here.

I found 25% of my change inside places, which that I found 75% or $37.28 out in the wide open (as wide open as Seattle can be) space places like the sidewalk, the road, the bus stop.

In most cases, Ive found small amounts money in very disparate places, so Ill have to give a high end overview.

The neighborhoods that I found the most change were the ones where I spent the most amount of time. Not a surprise how could one find something when one wasnt there? Neighborhoods broke out thusly: Greenwood (where I live) $13.41, or 36.0%; downtown (where I work) $8.96, or 24.0%; bus stops (how I commute) $4.48, or 12.0%; Crown Hill (next to where I live) $3.48, or 9.1%; Fremont, Queen Anne, and the U District between $1.51 2.50, or 4-6%, Safeway, which was a prime place to find change indoors, was also a reasonable place outside $0.84 , or 2.3%. Other places I found change in the $0.70 and under or 2.0-0.1% range.

Now in the general area I get down into specifics. I found the most on the sidewalk $11.51, or 30.9%; road $7.46, or 20.0%; planting strip (grass, dirt, tree, etc) $3.34, or 9.0%; parking meter $2.13, or 5.7%; the number 5 bus stop(s) $1.98, or 5.1%; on corners of sidewalk $1.76, or 4.7%; in the crosswalk $1.06, or 2.8%; in the gutter $0.88, or 2.4%.

I found a lot of change in odd places that I would have to consider miscellaneous - $1.79, or 4.8%. Places like bike hitches, fountain edges (pulling money from a fountain is tacky), stairs, between cobbles, ATMs, payphones, telephone pole, manhole cover, grates, banisters.

In other words, if finding change is like fishing, the money is likely to lurk anywhere at your feet.

red four update

August 5th, 2010 at 08:51 pm

You might remember our beef cow, a red angus sporting a four ear tag. In an odd way, thank you for those red x's.

She had turned into a carcass last week, weighed in at 625 lb and is now hanging and resting. The rancher is now asking us for how we want it cut. Dressed weight is about 80% of carcass... all told, I'm expecting about 62 lbs to hit the freezer.

Lifehacker had an article about whole animal buying. The comments were a scream...you buy a whole animal with several people. No one's expecting you to eat it by yourself. Smile Anyway, there was a fantastic link to an Iowa State extension buying guide. (Warning, its a .pdf.) Useful for any meat eater.

dirty money analysis, part 3

August 4th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Part 2, here
Part 1, here

A bit of an analysis of the change I found inside places. As I said before, I found $12.70 or 25% of my yearly total ($49.98) inside places like buses, grocery stores, etc.

I catagorized the inside locations and totals thusly:
Bus $1.72, or 13.9%; coffee shop(s) $0.80, or 6.3%; groceries other than Safeway $0.46, or 3.6%; gym $0.98, or 7.7%; miscellaneous places $1.52, or 12.0%; Safeway $6.38, or 50.2%; work $0.80, or 6.3%.

Of course, this is indicative of where I go - one can't find change in places where one doesn't go. The miscellaneous places that I found change at were particularly interesting and can give you some more ideas on good places to look - bank lobbies, elevator floor inside Group Health, thrift store floors, hardware store, restaurant carpets, vending machines, coinstar machines, chiropractor's office.

I had further catagorized where in the inside locations I had found the money. That worked out thusly:
Aisle $0.38, or 3.0%; Checkout $1.09, or 8.6%; Floor $6.77, or 53.3%; miscellaneous locations $1.28, or 10.1%; under something $3.18, or 25.0%.

The miscellaneous locations include escalators (surprising to me), on tables, cabinets, and stands, gym equipment, that edge between the bus seat and the window. You can find money just in the middle of the floor, but often the change lurks under things. Change especially lurks close to the source - when you get coins in exchange for a bill and you drop a coin or two.

Change found outside next.

Gonna have to save that wheat penny

August 3rd, 2010 at 09:06 pm

Yesterday someone dropped a 1927 wheat penny in front of the parking meter. Actually that someone dropped a 1927 - S penny, with a little 's' underneath the year.

For laughs, I looked up its value here.

Whoa! 40 cents.