Saturday, February 27, 2010

Progressive's My Rate Program

After I bought my new car (and added collision coverage) my car insurance has more than doubled. Progressive has a plan in which you can add a tracker to your car and possibly save on insurance, depending on your driving habits. They claim that you can save as much as 25% on your premiums.

I have privacy concerns about this, but I am considering it anyway, if I would really save that much. I walk to work, so I really only drive my car to run errands and for the occasional road trip, and I think I drive like a Memaw, so I should be a shoo-in for a discount. But I am dubious as to whether this is like life insurance, where they quote you the premium health rate and then find reasons to slot you into the standard health prices afterward.

Do you have any experience with My Rate or a similar plan? Would you recommend it?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Breaking News: Dems and Republicans disagree over heath care

According to the Wall Street Journal, today the health care summit featured "sparring over the parties' approaches and trading some pointed barbs but making little apparent headway toward a bipartisan approach to a deal on legislation."

It turns out that Democrats and Republicans are really far apart when it comes to substantive changes on heath care issues. This is news to you only if you have eschewed every form of media for approximately the last year.

So I don't know what we taxpayers spent on the security, munchies, overtime for staffers, etc. to make this meeting happen (even assuming that the cost of our lawmakers time is zero, which I am starting to believe), but I'm sure it's more than I'm going to make this year, and it might be more than I'm going to make this lifetime.

All for an outcome which anyone who can turn on a TV and fog a mirror could have predicted for free. Who do these guys think that they are impressing, anyway?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Would Blippy make you spend more or less?

NPR did a little segment today on Blippy. Blippy lets you enter your credit cards into their site and then shows your friends what you purchase in real time. According to the site's founder, people tend to "buy virally," in other words, they check out what their friends are buying and then get one for themselves. So it seems like it's the opposite of frugal.

On the other hand, if I knew that Moneyfunk and Revanche were looking at everything I bought, I think I'd spend way less.

I'm afraid to add my credit card numbers to another web site, so I'm not planning to sign up. Do you think signing up on Blippy would cause you to spend more money or less?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Places to Meet Single Men

I'm surrounded by female friends and relations who continually lament the lack of dating opportunities for ladies in their mid-thirties. Personally, I'm hit on all the time, and I've been married 6 years. And it's not just because I'm married (and so unavailable) or look like Megan Fox (not even close), it's that the things I do for fun have an enormously skewed male to female ratio (and I don't always wear a wedding ring). If you're looking for new places to meet men, here are my suggestions:

(1) To meet cowboys join a sport that uses guns. Many, many guys out there are looking for a lady who shoots, or at least is tolerant of their love of the shooting sports. I have attended, participated in, and enjoyed events held by the Single Action Shooting Society which combines guns and costume competitions, rather like a renaissance festival of the wild west. The International Practical Shooting Confederation and the International Defensive Pistol Association, are both fun handgun competitions. There are organizations for just about anything you can think of to do with any kind of firearm that seems interesting to you.

It's not a problem if you've never held a gun in your life and don't currently own one - just show up to an event and start asking questions. If you don't want to be a total noob, the National Rifle Association offers all kinds of beginning classes, including some that are women-only (not great for meeting men though). You can also check the internet for private classes in your area, although I'd try to get a recommendation for one, as there are some really bad private outfits out there who will teach you terrible habits.

(2) To meet geeks join a martial art. Like shooting guys, guys who love martial arts dream of finding someone that they can train with forever. I personally enjoy a form of Aikido, but there are lots of other arts out there - look around until you see something that interests you. Avoid any place that won't let you take a free lesson or watch one or two. Really good places tend to require you to watch at least one lesson before they'll take your money so that you know what you are getting in to, and fun places won't require a year's commitment; they figure that you'll want to stay. You may need to pay an up-front fee when you join to cover the cost of the gi/uniform.

(3) To meet charming, sociable guys join your local libertarian party or tea party movement. You can probably find the same male to female ratio for any really fiscally conservative candidate (look for opinions about the Federal Reserve to judge the candidate's conservatism. If s/he talks about it at all, you're good). If you're a Democrat, you may be SOL - the demographic skews strongly toward women (of course, if you'd like to meet a nice girl, this is a great option). The tea party and libertarian movements are generally broadly painted as kooks and crazies, and I'm not saying they don't exist, but I've met a ton of nice single guys with good jobs who just have a bee in their bonnet for fiscal conservatism.

Even if you're only vaguely interested in one of these topics, it might be worthwhile to give it a try. Even if you don't find the guy of your dreams, you might pick up a great hobby!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who Dat?!?!?!??!!

That is all.

Going back to singing Saints songs and dancing around my living room now.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Emergency Chicken Harvest

Harvested a chicken today for the first time since I was 10. My mother's dog killed it right in front of her. So then we were left with the decision - should we try to make it useful, or throw it away? I'm sure all you PF bloggers out there understand why I didn't want to waste it. This is a 100% real grass-fed, free-range chicken - I'm not throwing that in the trash if I can help it. (The dog had not chewed on it in any way). But we had to act fast to keep it from spoiling.

We don't usually harvest our own animals at the farm. As I have said before, the art of red meat harvesting is a lifetime mastery. We've got someone local who does it spectacularly well, and we use him for our usual beef and goat needs, simply because he will do it so much better.

Luckily for me, though, we have one customer who insists on harvesting himself at the farm. So I've assisted on a couple of goat harvests in the last year. Extra-luckily for me, he just gave me a book on how to harvest a variety of animals, including chickens. I also had Joel Salatin's Pastured Poultry Profits to use as a reference, although he advises you how to harvest 400 chickens at a time, not one.

So, basically, it was me, a dead chicken, a knife and two books. An hour and a half later, I have the ugliest-cleaned chicken in the world sitting in the fridge, and I'm having chicken gumbo tomorrow.

I had several bad moments. First, my knife wasn't sharp enough to take the head off, and I had to look for a cleaver. Second, I tore the skin while trying to pluck it. Then, I had trouble eviscerating the chicken, as the guts did not scoop out neatly as both books intimated. Fourth, only one of the books gave any advice about getting rid of the craw (a pouch full of gravel and recently-eaten food, the first stage in the chicken digestive process). Finally, I couldn't find the gizzard (a necessary ingredient for a good gumbo). After looking through the guts again, I realized that I had save the gizzard, mistaking it for the heart. The heart is much smaller - doh!

I'm sure that anyone who knows anything about processing chickens would have laughed their heads off at my noobie efforts. Still I am very proud of myself for getting this done, and turning what would have been a total loss into dinner.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Amazon 30% off

Amazon sent me a link to 30% off Valentine's Day gifts. It looks like mostly jewlelry, but some of it was really cute. For instance, you too could have your own Great Turtle:

I also really liked this bracelet:

OK, done with window shopping; time to start the day.