Friday, January 25, 2008

Voter registration

I recently updated my voter registration. I changed my address to my current residence, but I also changed my party affiliation from UNAFFILIATED to REPUBLICAN. This allows me to participate in the Republican primary caucuses. I'm very excited about this. It will be my first primary election activity.

The bad news? I won't be allowed to vote in the Democratic Party Presidential Caucus. Between the two, I'd rather vote in the Republican one. For one, I can usually live with any Democrat better than I can with many of the Republicans out there now - I can better ensure a workable candidate by choosing the opposition. In this particular case, I'm also more passionate about my support of Ron Paul than I am for any of the Democratic candidates. There's a picture I saw where a supporter was wearing a T-shirt or holding a sign that said "Dr. Paul cured my apathy." I agree with that.

So, at 9:00A.M. on Saturday, February 9, 2008, you should be able to find me at Blue Valley NW High School, 13260 Switzer. Are you registered Republican in Kansas? Find your caucus location!

Dining room art

I've been shopping for the past week or so for artwork and/or a mirror to go over the dining room buffet/sidebar. Carrie has expressed annoyance at my selection of stuff so far, so hopefully whatever I get will break that trend. Her mom tells her she will bring some of her father's old paintings the next time she visits, too. I'm interested to see what they are like.

But, so far I have found a couple paintings and a mirror that could work. One place has a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale going through the end of January. I'm only really interested in one painting, there, but my brother has found another one or two that he says would have a place in my house no matter what. I do have plenty of basement walls to fill eventually, after all.

It's been an interesting process. I've had to develop my tastes all in the last year, for the most part. It really has been one fairly major decision after the next. Once I bought the house, I had to pick out a refrigerator. Then I had to get a washer/dryer set. Later I had to get a kitchen table. Then I had to pick out a TV. I made sure my house had room for a ping pong table when I bought it, so then I had to pick out a ping pong table. Most recently, I had to pick dining room furniture. I thought I was done for awhile, but I now apparently need artwork.

So, I've been gathering opinions and analyzing my personality. I don't think most people are as intellectual about it as I am. I feel more like a dream interpreter than anything. Where most people would say "I like that," I look at it and make up a symbolism matching my personality. "The frame is simple, which goes along with my practical nature." I do recognize that there are colors, shapes, and overall styles that I don't particularly care for, though, which is a major step for me. Still, there doesn't seem to be anything that represents the side of my personality that largely doesn't care and that can live with pretty much anything, or nothing, on the walls.

Yet to be decided: my new set of clothes for the next few years. The decisions never end.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Plea for help

In case you haven't noticed, the stock market hasn't been doing so hot in the last few days/weeks/months. But you know what's cool? You can help! You can go out and buy something right now and improve the economy. You want to help even more, you say? Well, you're in luck! You can go buy something, break it right away, and buy it again!

Recommended products to buy: Garmin GPS devices, AMD/ATI computer parts, E*TRADE financial services/products.

Thanks guys!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Dining Room Furniture

My dining room furniture has arrived, so I thought I'd share a couple pictures for no particular reason.

Table and Sidebar from the front entryway (and Fiona).

China hutch thing from entryway.

As you can see in the second picture, there's not a whole lot of extra room between the end chair and the china hutch thing. I'd like to put the leaf in the table, but in order to have workable room on both ends the table couldn't be centered, and I'm not sure how good that would look on a day to day basis.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Financial Woes

I was having a conversation with a friend this afternoon about how money appears to be tight for the next few months. I mentioned how I have to figure out how to make mortgage payments, pay property taxes and regular income taxes, make an IRA contribution, continue to make contributions to my 401(k), renew homeowners and car insurance, and continue to make all my utility payments and the like.

My huge spreadsheet indicates I'll have a surplus of about $2000 this year. But if that surplus is accumulated throughout the year (or mostly in the second half of the year, like in 2007), I could be in trouble in the first half. On a side note, my spreadsheet also indicates I severely missed my goal of 8% net worth growth last year. I have a 0.76% growth rate for 2007 (dismal), but that does include mortgage closing costs and some unrealized losses in my E*TRADE account.

Anyway, at the very end of the conversation, I remembered that my maximum house price was determined based on being able to afford it even without renters, that I don't have to max out my 401(k) every year, and that I have a large reserve of capital currently invested in mutual funds and the like. In other words, money is only tight because I save so much and I have a lot of cushioning built into my budget if I need it. I need to be reminded every once in awhile that I really don't have much to complain about, financially.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Why can't Congress get anything done?

I had a conversation last night about the difficulty in fixing anything in politics. We often ask ourselves why Congress can't get anything done. I think part of the problem is this: What the fuck does Congress have to do with baseball?