Archive for July, 2007

Another Weekend

July 28, 2007

Some days you have your highpoint, today seems to have come down to a lull.

I will be going home for R&R here at the end of August. I was only at my new duty station for four weeks prior to going over here for this deployment so all my household goods are in government storage other then a bag of clothing in the truck of my car which is also in storage. I realized I am going home with just the uniform on my back to wear. I will have to go online and shop for some clothing, this is something I wanted to put off till later but I figure I can get four combo’s and wear that for 18 days. I will order some stuff online tomorrow and the next day and have it dropped off at my parents house in the states since I swing by and visit them. I think I will go get a rental car and just go up into the mountains and enjoy “green”. Been looking online at cabins for rent. Its a mental jump because you go so long without any sense of color then all the sudden you see grass and go “wow”!

Started to read Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon” based on a recommendation, I will most likely read some of it here in an hour, but right now I am listening to some relaxing music by Jack Johnson and drinking a Granini Banana puree drink (wish they sold these in the states somewhere I lived).

More movies

July 25, 2007

Watched Die Hard III and Knocked Up this week.

Die Hard was neutered, the whole shut down the system thing I can understand.. but the stuff that no one in the entire city has the basic driving skills processed by a drunk blind man in Iraq (which has no driving tests or laws) I find hard to believe.  We can forgo the scenes of people driving 90 MPH though intersections and tunnels with no lights, at least make me believe something is possible.  I mean.. ok traffic is jammed…lets go though the tunnel.. wow all lanes are open… lets drive real fast… o the lights went out and I see cars coming at me… lets turn on the headlights and try to make it though.  Most likely if the system shut down people would go home (happened a few years ago) by bike, car, bus, walking and wait it out. Some people would go crazy and try to loot stuff and get arrested  but after a day or two that part would be over.

Knocked Up on the other hand made me laugh, I mean really laugh, that kind of laugh where you forget your doing it till everyone around you stops to look at you. It made some valid points about the sexes without all the romantic bullshit that finds it’s way in many movies and stayed a comedy. It was still a romantic comedy but it avoided all the stuff that made it hard to believe, other then the point she kept the kid. I found that the hard part to believe in that movie, they did mention abortion though.

Magazines in the mail

July 20, 2007

I was surprised when I recieved some forwarded mail yesterday. It was a Men’s Journal magazine with my name on the mailing label.  I am rather sure I have not signed up for a magazine subscription by opting in somewhere online, like they always asked me when I used to go to Best Buy. So where did this magazine come from? Nice person gave me a subscription, technical error, or will I suddenly see a charge to my credit card or a bill in the mail for the magazine. Otherwise, its a rather decent read, considering I sometimes read the labels on hand sanitizer. I did do this after I read about a child that got drunk eating the stuff;)

I also got in my order from Amazon for the Planet Earth series from the BBC, I will start watching it tonight. Watching Battlestar Galactica is getting annoying… never watched it on TV just the ripped versions  over here.  It has four shows grip you and make you want to see what happens next then all the sudden you get one or two shows that serve no purpose. That seems to be a recurring example the series sets.

Watched the movie Layer Cake yesterday, its a British film and rather good, this one I will most likely buy on DVD.

Furniture and opinions

July 19, 2007

I have been looking around to buy furniture when I get back to the states because I do not have anything. I want to move past the IKEA/Walmart stuff that snaps together and falls apart and put some money into a product that will last me for a few decades.

Going to link to quite a few items and looking for any input anyone may have. Most of my online shopping has been at Design Within Reach and Room and Board.

Living Room: This sofa, chair and ottoman.

Bedroom: This is one possible bed in walnut and this is the other in mocha. I will add the matching dresser and nightstand in mocha if I get that the Calvin style bed.

Other: I want to put some bookcases (gray) though-out my apartment without using too much space. I am thinking two big ones in the living room and one small bookcase (gray) in the bedroom or office. I thinking about this bench as either in the bedroom or as the table for the living room. Was looking at this dining table in walnut but it may be more then I need plus these chairs in ebony with black leather.

Office: Yes this chair is expensive but I want something i can sit in for a few years. This desk in mocha. This desk costs a bit more since you have to buy the bloody drawers seperate. This one seems to fit between the two going with a cherry top.

That is enough for now.

Movies and shaving

July 18, 2007

Got to love bootleg movies in Iraq, so far I have seen Transformers and the new Harry Potter within the last week. Now, granted most of them tend to be filmed by a guy with a handycam in some asian theater. Not sure, why the movie industry targets people in the US.  If you want to stop pirates they need focus on Asia.  Most of the rips in the US are from DVD’s, but all the handycam or “company” copies that get released early seem to be from Asia.  The asian subtitles are a dead give away on the handycams.

Anyway, Transformer was ok, not sure why the studies try to add everything to a movie, was it an action movie? romance? kiddy film? I honestly do not know, seemed like it wanted to have violence but also a love story and appeal to older people and young kids all at the same time. I would not rent it.

On the opposite the Harry Potter was so so, the kid actors are growing up and I look forward to what roles they will play post “Potter”, the movie was darker but still basic idea.. evil guy is coming back.. looks like its the end.. evil guy loses to come back again..  its a too often repeated story and I will most likely buy the DVD just for the imagery not so much the story.

In other news, I can now shave myself with a safety razor with cutting myself! It really is a much closer shave; however the downside is that it takes me about 15 -20 mins to shave now from starting the process to finish.

FICO, credit cards and other musings

July 17, 2007

Well, I got my credit reports awhile back in the mail. The free ones your entitled to due to the law, however you still have to pay money to see you credit score. I swear the entire credit industry seems to be a racket, I understand the service they provide, but something seems wrong with the entire industry. Maybe I look back on some historical idea of coffee houses, with insurance and banking and people who evaluate credit based on knowledge of a person. Granted this idea would never work in the modern world other then a local credit union. I understand the objective nature of the data vs the subjective, the problem seems to be that the credit reporting companies have no quality control on what is reported to them, some companies report accurately, others send some data with errors. You can dispute anything and if no reply within 30+5 days (5 days for mail) the item in dispute is supposed to be removed. The consumer has to check their reports and dispute errors at least yearly otherwise all kinds of junk from people who are not even you seems to end up in the reports. It find it strange that someone can make money selling erroneously reports for a living; I say that because apparently the majority of reports do have errors. It’s like selling a house as new that needs to be fixed to live in. *boggle*

Well, I paid to get my scores to see where I was at compared to everyone else. When I averaged all three I was 763. I find it strange looking at my credit reports, it lists credit cards I do not not even remember owning.. must have been something I signed up for in college to get a free shirt or just errors. I have one payment that was 30 days late, off a Discover card I have not used in recent memory, in fact I canceled the card just the other day for that exact purpose and that the quality of service has never been good. The one late payment was due to Discover card not updating records.. IE I paid it before it was due but they did not process it till much afterwards… I gave up that fight and never used the card again. Looks like I may as well go ahead and dispute it now, though.

However, almost a year ago I lost my wallet and reported everything to all my card companies, Discover send me a new card as did my bank etc.. however, Discover card opened an a new account for the card. This explains why all my points disappeared on the Discover card when I checked but to make matters worst the one 30 day late payment is counted twice now by two of the credit reports. I will dispute that with them, since rather strange to count the same thing twice. New account, but strangely the credit history for the card carried over but everything else (points) did not.

I will keep my USAA MasterCard credit card and debit card, and my USAA AMEX. I honestly never use the credit unless I am buying a large purchase for the additional protection.

USAA recently contracted for credit monitoring for an additional five bucks and some change a month. Does anyone use these services? I tend to pay attention to my banking and would notice strange changes to my banking plus the bank requires phone calls for large purchases (when I brought my 50″ TV, I had to call them on the phone at Circuit City to approve the charge), plus credit cards only hold you liable for $50 as long as you report issues to them within a reasonable amount of time. “Reasonable” may depend on your bank. Now, someone wants to take out a loan in my name.. I really have no way of knowing. I am wondering if anyone views the service as reasonable or a waste of money as long as you pay attention to what your doing with your identity.

June Net-worth

July 5, 2007

I am going to try to track my net-worth. I decided not to track property or household items. I have included my car, since I can sell it within a week or two if I put an effort into selling it.

June Networth

The HSBC account is somewhat unknown, I deposited $5,000 but yet to have access to the account. They have a system which while designed for customer safety is annoying, no one you talk to in on the phone or email has access to your account name and password. The account name is sent by email and the password in postage mail. I have not received my password even though the money was deposited back in May. I have sent emails and called their phone support, which surprised me since they accept collect calls if your calling international. While being very nice, they were not too helpful mainly due to the above reason stated. They said they would mail me my password again since according to them they had tried twice but it was returned both times. This is strange, USAA, said this recently in regards to my American Express card, they tried twice to send it to me but it was returned. I find it strange that the mailman can drop off mail to my home of record in the states with no problem but bank information gets kicked back. Even stranger is they have my email address listed, but neither bank made any attempt to contact me in regards to the mailing issue. *makes one wonder*

 Either way, I am planning to put more money into TSP (up to 35% of my pay) and plan to have my SDP sitting at $10,000 before the end of August.

4th of July

July 4, 2007

I honestly almost did not know what day it was till I was informed they were having t-bones steaks in the mess for lunch. A nice week or weekend, not sure if people have time off back in the states, for a cook-out and fireworks. I was going to comment on what took place, but the inevitable truth is there is a split between those who care and those who don’t. Even those who state they care, will most likely forgot the subject by Monday morning. *sigh* Its has nothing to do with Iraq but civics in general. Everyone is quick to list their rights and benefits but disappear when the responsibilities associated are mentioned. I am reminded of Thomas Paine’s, “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots”. I saw an article today about a woman who was stabbed to death in a supermarket and people just stepped over to continue shopping and one person paused to take a picture with a cellphone, but not one person helped. When did we lose track of our humanity? Most likely the same place where Americans fail the citizenship exam that non-citizens are required to take.

I did receive a “Happy 4th of July” message from a friend and his family, who is in the Swedish military, who I met during the Captains Career Course.

In other news, I received in the mail my DE razor and tested it out this morning. Yes, I cut my face up, well mostly my chin and neck. My face shave was very close and nice, but its a learning experience when it comes to the bottom of my face, the “how to shave” part of the razor is completely different then a disposable. I also love how the alum block which stops bleeding is described as a “cooling sensation” bloody stinging pain in my my own words. I figure I should be able to not cut myself by the end of the week, well maybe next week.

My 4th of the July has been spent working on excel sheets while listening to my Ipod. Someone mailed three CD’s full of country music, something around 90 songs give or take. No one wanted them, so I am now sitting here listening to music I have not heard since I was a kid, its all country from the late 70’s and 80’s. My parents listened to this stuff and still do but I rarely do, not out of any dislike but I swear its all love songs when you get right down to it… with divorce, beer, and other personnel issues involved. That may be why people do not like this form of music its too human and real; it may also be the stereotypical images of men and women. However, I am not sure how someone can dismiss the song writing presence in songs like D-I-V-O-R-C-E , and Sunday Morning Coming Down. *shrug*

Well I wish everyone a happy 4th, I really would love about two grilled hot dogs about now. Hot dogs made out of ground up everything, no turkey or beef only please.