Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"Having trouble paying your bills? We can help!"

I bet you've seen and heard those words a thousand times in cheesy, emotion-provoking advertisements. But don't be fooled. These companies charge large fees to "lower your debt", and you will probably just end up with more debt than you started with. They most often work with the creditors by paying them late and months later making offers to payoff at much lower amounts than owed (if they keep up with your account), all the while still charging you the same amount of money.

You are better off using strategies on your own to pay off your bills. Don't be afraid of your debt. Take the emotion out of the equation. Take charge of your finances.

  1. Don't open any more lines of credit and stop using the credit cards/credit lines you currently have. Cash only (or bank debit card only).

  2. Pay essential first: food, electric, mortgage/rent.

  3. Get current on your bills. If you do not have enough money coming in, get a second job (this doesn't have to be permanent).

  4. Write out a budget each month and follow that budget. When the money runs out. Stop spending.

You can get yourself out of the mess and back on your feet again. But don't let yourself be taken in by scams. It takes a lot of work, but you can do it.

Reference: Dave Ramsey

Photo by Jenn_Jenn. Some rights reserved.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for freedom, health, family, life, friends, food, joy, movies, my job, nature, BSA, Dave Ramsey, the Internet, art, photography, comedy, everyday joys.
picture created with Graffiti application

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Top 20 Favorite Songs

Last week, my husband and I were talking about what our top 10 songs are. I had so many that I wanted in my top 10 that I had to make a top 20. Here they are, just for s and g's.

  1. Back in Black - AC/DC
  2. Nobody's Listening - Linkin Park
  3. Hotel California - Eagles
  4. Tom Sawyer - Rush
  5. Baba O'Riley - The Who
  6. Kashmir - Led Zeppelin
  7. Cowboy - Kid Rock
  8. AM Radio - Everclear
  9. Veteran of the Psychic Wars - Blue Oyster Cult
  10. Orion - Metallica
  11. Thunderstruck - AC/DC
  12. Seven Bridges Road - Eagles
  13. Unforgiven II - Metallica
  14. One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer - George Thorogood and the Destroyers
  15. Landslide - Stevie Nicks
  16. Paint it Black - The Rolling Stones
  17. Freebird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  18. I Stand Alone - Godsmack
  19. Rooms on Fire - Stevie Nics
  20. Rock 'n Me - Steve Miller Band

My top Albums (in no particular order):

  • Full Moon Fever - Tom Petty
  • Songs from an American Movie - Everclear
  • Master of Puppets - Metallica
  • Meteora - Linkin Park
  • Hybrid Theory - Linkin Park
  • Supernatural - Santana
  • Devil without a Cause - Kid Rock
  • Workshop of the Telescopes - Blue Oyster Cult
  • Who Made Who - AC/DC
  • Green - REM
  • So - Peter Gabriel

My favorite bands, in case you couldn't tell (in no particular order):

  • AC/DC
  • Rush
  • The Who
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Eagles
  • The Steve Miller Band
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Tom Petty
  • Everclear
  • Metallica
  • Linkin Park
  • Kid Rock

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Notes on Sarah Palin - Charlie Gibson Interview

My rough notes from the Palin/Gibson interview:

-put govt on side of people-halt the growth of government
-in Wasilla-cut property tax-increased sale tax-cut small business inventory taxes-started with a balanced budget and ended with a deficit for sports arena
-Alaska:-temporarily eliminated state fuel tax

what would you change in Bush economic plan?
-change oversight of quasi-government agencies (such as fannie mae and freddie mac)
-reduce taxes, reform spending, change oversight
-vet programs should not be touched
-describes self as washington outsider with no allegiances to power brokers.
-paid 30,000 for a lobbyist to washington
-roe v. wade should be overturned on the state level-abortion only in the case of the woman's life endangered (McCain for abortion permitted in case of incest and rape)
-against embryonic stem cell research (McCain for)
-avoided question about whether being gay is learned or genetic
-against more gun control
-says she is experienced enough and has enough ability to be vice president and possibly president
-avoided national security and foreign policy question, saying being more energy independent would be great for national security
-played basketball in high school

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

GOP Selection of Palin is Highly Insulting

I have been in a bad mood since the announcement was made. I find the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee to be highly insulting. What are we supposed to infer by her nomination? She has only been the governor of Alaska for less than 2 years. Before that, she was a mayor. She does not have near enough experience for the position. So why was she chosen? Because she is a woman? There are plenty of female Republicans who are qualified for the job. This just disgusts me. And it seems that all the Republican politicians are just going along with it, like this is a genius move. Ugh! Let's see, she's not as qualified as Barak Obama, Obama's not as experienced as George W. Bush was when he took office-and I did not vote for Bush-because he was not qualified enough!

What was McCain thinking? Was he thinking? Is he just going with what other people are telling him to do, or was this his idea? If it was his idea, it does not bode well for him.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Presidential Election 08

I have been researching the Presidential candidates online. I like to look at the candidates' voting records, biography, official stance on the issues, and their writings and speeches. The issues that are important to me right now are, in order; Budget/Finance, Immigration and National Security, and Foreign Policy.

Click here to view Senator Barack Obama's Senate voting record at Project Vote Smart.

Click here to view Senator John McCain's Senate voting record at Project Vote Smart.

Once on the page, chose an issue from the drop-down menu and click "go".

Friday, August 22, 2008

What I'm (re-)Reading: Watchmen

Watchmen by Alan Moore. I first read this in college. When I saw the preview for the Watchmen movie (coming 2009), it made me want to read it again.

Movie Talk: Summer of Movies

Yes, this has been a fantastic summer for movies! Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, Iron Man! Awesome. Personally, I found Dark Knight to be the best. The acting was superb. Heath Ledger played the Joker straight out of Killing Joke with a few twists of his own. Bravo! Aaron Eckhart and Gary Oldman did very well in their roles. My favorite parts of the movie were when the truck flipped end-over-end and the nurse. :) I saw Dark Knight 3 times in the theater, and I would like to see it again, but in IMAX. It was filmed (or at least many of the scenes were) specifically for IMAX.

Tropic Thunder is Hil-aaaarrrr-ious! I've seen it twice, first with my husband and my oldest son, second time I took the two other sons. Tom Cruise is a comedy surprise. He plays Les Grossman, the movie studio exec. A balding, hairy man with gigantic hands and forearms. His dance cracks me up!

Opening this weekend: Death Race and House Bunny. House Bunny looks like it could be funny, but I will wait for video. I keep going back and forth on Death Race. OK, it is a stupid story, IMO, but the driving and effects would be cool on the big screen.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Comic Books

So, I walk up to the counter with $38 worth of comic books, and all I can think is "being an adult is awesome!" Really. I can buy all the comics I want. I remember being a kid and only being able to buy one or two comics. The little girl inside me is smiling.

I wanted to buy The Watchmen...which I read in college...but they were sold out. They said they are getting 10 in tomorrow. So, guess where I'll be? I saw the trailer for the Watchmen movie, and decided I need to read it again. (If you haven't seen the trailer yet, check it out!)

Link: Watchmen trailer on IMDB

Monday, July 28, 2008

Found my Camera!

Yeah! I found my camera this past weekend. It was in the couch. Not under a couch cushion. Not down the side of the couch. But somehow down the corner of the couch where the arm rest meets the back. I was thrilled, of course!

My oldest son, Bobby, and I made our first video blog. (And it may be our last!) We took about 20 minutes of video. I uploaded it to my computer. That took about 10 minutes. Then, I cut it into smaller chunks and exported those chunks into wmv format (the default for my camera is Quicktime). I used Windows Movie Maker to cut those pieces up even more, add text, etc. Then, it had to be converted to wmv format again (Windows Movie Maker saves it as a project). All told, we spent between 3 and 4 hours to produce a 4 minute video. That's a lot of work, when you are not getting paid for it! All of those format conversions took their toll on the video. There are black spots, text is out of sync, etc.

It was kind of fun, though. But I don't know if I will do it again. Straight video is easier. And, after all, I am not a video professional.

Here's the video, if you are interested.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Movie Talk

Well, last weekend my husband and I took the kids (teenage boys) to see Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. What a disappointment! The boys liked it, but I didn't. While the costumes and sets were breathtaking, the writing was well below par-even for this genre. Wait for the video.

Of the movies I have been wanting to see this year, I have so far viewed Hellboy 2, Wanted, Get Smart, Iron Man, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Speed Racer, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Hancock. The best one, in my opinion, has been Iron Man. I would love to see it again on the big screen and I am planning to purchase it on DVD. Get
Smart and Harold and Kumar were funny. I'm glad I saw them at the theater. I also enjoyed Wanted and Speed Racer. Hancock was OK. Indiana Jones was disappointing.

I am planning to see The Dark Knight tonight with my husband.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lost without my Camera

I lost my camera a few days ago, and I am going nuts! I take so many pictures, every week. It's my current artistic outlet. We went to Blobfest yesterday, and I didn't have my camera. I hadn't realized how much more fun I have when I am taking pictures. Blobfest was OK, but it would have been much better if I had my camera.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Photo Hunt - Pointed

Desoto, rear view.

Movie Talk

Well, we went to see Wanted last week. I liked it, it was a fun movie. The unreality was way over the top. I still prefer Iron Man and would love to see it again in the theater (would that I had the time). We are planning to see Hancock today, which looks like it will be funny.

I am really looking forward to The Dark Knight. I am a huge Batman fan. I used to collect Batman comics and graphic novels. It looks to me like Heath Ledger portrayed Joker the way he is written in the comic books, extremely sadistic. If so, it will not be appropriate for children-believe me.

Been a Long Time

Wow, it's been a while since I blogged. I was so sick about a week and a half ago. I had an ear infection. I thought ear infections were for babies and toddlers! Wow, that ear infection took hold of me and didn't want to let go. Anyway, I'm baaaaaack. :)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

380-Million-Year-Old Fossil of a Fish that Gives Birth to Live Young

A 380-million-year-old fish fossil (Materpiscis attenboroughi) was discovered in Australia. It is unique because it was complete with an embryo and intact umbilical cord. This kind of fish gave birth to live young as opposed to fish that release eggs that are then fertilized outside of the body.

Artist's impression from AAP article.

Entertainment Gleanings

Yes, I have scoured the corners of the entertainment world to find the latest entertainment news.

MTV Movie Awards - Yes, this Sunday night at 8PM ET is the live broadcast of the MTV Movie Awards. Forget the Oscars, so lame and outdated. The MTV Movie Awards rule. They're fun, they're entertaining, they have the most original categories (best kiss, best villain, best fight). Hosted by Mike Myers.

Weezer - Their new self-titled album is due out this week. June 3, 2008

Square Pegs on DVD - I loved this show when it was on TV. Available now on DVD. Jamie Gertz and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Dispatches from the Island - Check out Jorge Garcia's blog (Hurley from Lost).

Lost Dream

All right. I had a weird Lost dream, but I can't stop thinking about it and wondering if it would fit in at all. I dreamt that when Ben moved the island, everyone on the island split into two-they became two people. Two John Lockes, etc.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

2008 Movie Preview

The following is a list of movies I am looking forward to seeing this year.

Hellboy 2: the Golden Army
Wanted - action movie starring Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie
Get Smart - Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart
Iron Man - I'm a sucker for comic book movies
The Forbidden Kingdom - Kung Fu movie starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - guilty pleasure
Deception - (maybe)
Speed Racer - this just looks too cool (OK, am I showing my age?), you can't go wrong with race cars. Go, Speed Racer!
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Indiana Jones and the Kindgom of the Crystal Skull
The Foot Fist Way - check out the trailer. It cracks me up!
The Incredible Hulk - Oh yeah! Made the right way this time, let's hope.
The Dark Knight
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Righteous Kill - Pacino and DeNiro, need I say more?
Valkyrie - could go either way
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince

Bender's Big Score on Comedy Central tonight

Check it out: Bender's Big Score airs on Comedy Central tonight. There are to be at least 2 more Futurama movies released this year, which will be chopped up into episodes and aired on Comedy Central.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Advertisements, Commercials, and Overspending...Oh, my!

I am so SICK of commercials and advertisements! Did I tell you how much I hate advertisements? It seems like I can't do anything or go anywhere without being told or shown what I should be buying! It is an assault on the senses! Even on the Internet-especially on the Internet! In the beginning, there was practically no advertising on the Web. Then, there were ways to block advertisements. Now, some advertisements are not possible to disable. We have a DVR and skip some of the advertisements that way, but then we see product placement in practically every frame of the television show we are watching! I sat at lunch last week and decided to read a magazine. I read an article that listed ways to save time. I checked out the websites they recommended. They were all start-up, commercial websites (read "pay"). The article was just an advertisement in disguise. I am so disgusted!

I guess that is why I love camping so much. I just want to go out into the woods, pitch my tent, and be surrounded only by life. It is so relaxing and rejuvenating! I can't wait.

I am trying to find ways to limit the amount of advertisements I have to encounter on a daily basis, but it is not easy. I try to listen to CD's or tapes in the car, instead of the radio. I am limiting the time I spend on the web. And I try to condense all of my shopping into one day a week. If anyone has other ideas to limit exposure to advertising, please share them.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Music I Like: Until You Dare by The Hooters

Yes, the Hooters have a new album out. The title of the album is Times Stand Still.

I absolutely love 2 of the songs (I haven't listened to all of the songs yet). They are Until You Dare and I'm Alive. You can listen to samples of the songs on Or you can visit their MySpace page.

Until You Dare just says everything I feel right now. How I feel about life, now that I am in my late 30's.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Notable Movies of 2007

(Note: This list is subjective and is chosen only from the movies I have seen.)

Best Movie: The Bourne Ultimatum

Best Family Movie: The Golden Compass

Best Comedy: Superbad
Summer Blockbuster: Transformers
Best Special Effects: I am Legend
Best Cinematography:
Most over-hyped: Shrek the Third
Disappointing sequal: Shrek the Third
Pointless Remake: The Heartbreak Kid
Just for Fun: Ghost Rider
Most Innovative: Beowulf
Better than expected: Live Free or Die Hard
Best Car Chase: Live Free or Die Hard
Best Actor:
Best Actress:
Best Animated Film: The Simpsons Movie

What I'm Reading: Benjamin Franklin Vol. 1 by Carl Van Doren

Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 by Carl Van Doren

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Philadelphia Auto Show 2008

Two of my sons, my husband and I all went to the Philadelphia Auto Show yesterday. We had a great time. We got to sit in, touch, and look under the hood of dozens of cars and trucks (maybe hundreds, but we were only there for four hours!). Some cars, like the exotic sports cars pictured, were behind barriers.

I got to sit in some cool trucks. My husband sat in a Jaguar-his favorite. There was also a section with customized cars. They were cool to look at, but definitely not something I woulds spend money on. I'm more interested in the mechanics of the vehicle. My 16-year-old participated in a driving simulation for teens to see how well they drive. He has not taken any lessons yet, so I guess I should not be worried that he went through a red light and took out a light pole!

We also were able to compare the various hybrid vehicles that are being offered by the different manufacturers. My husband found the Toyota hybrid to be the most effecient at 40 miles per gallon. He is interested in getting a hybrid for his next vehicle. I am planning to get an all-wheel-drive vehicle next. I would love to get a big truck, but the gas mileage is way too low.

Check out my photos at:

Check out the Philadelphia Auto Show at:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Qtrax - Free MP3's

Qtrax is a site opening tonight that allows free and legal downloads of MP3's, ringtones and more. It is paid for through advertising. It is unclear how the software works. The site says that it is a peer-to-peer network, but it also says that the player accesses sites with artists' music, videos, etc. It is also unclear how the advertising will appear, but the website states that it does not have spyware and that the advertisements are non-intrusive.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fire in Downtown Pottstown

There was a fire today in downtown Pottstown, PA. It burned for several hours and at least two buildings were destroyed, one completely leveled.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Me and Bob, New Year's day 2008

Happy New Year!

Photo courtesy Timothy K. Hamilton, Creativity+ Photography

I love the new year, new beginnings, starting over. I always picture it as ending at the bottom of a long calendar at the end of December and jumping up to the top of a brand new calendar at the beginning of January. It is the time I plan my year. I don't necessarily make resolutions, but I do have goals. I usually pick books I want to read, plan outings, plan for any large occasions (graduations, etc.). I also take a look at the previous year. I take stock of what I have accomplished, which goals I did not reach and whether I want to continue to pursue them, where and how I spent my money, etc. I suppose a lot of people do those things.

Well, here's to a bright and happy new year!